Oak Mountain Middle School’s robotics team has added another title to their already impressive resume after winning the Technology Student Association (TSA) National VEX IQ Robotics Competition on Sunday, June 24 in Atlanta, GA. Oak Mountain Middle School advanced to the national competition, where they competed against teams from across the country, after winning the Alabama State TSA VEX IQ Robotics Competition in May.
The winning group from Oak Mountain was team 10740G, comprised of Ismael Choucha, Khaled Zuaiter, Aaron Pendry, and Cade May.
The VEX IQ Challenge is the largest and fastest growing middle school robotics program globally. Each year, an exciting engineering challenge is presented in the form of a game, which for the 2018 season was called “Ringmaster.” Robotics teams, with guidance from their teachers and mentors, build innovative robots and compete year-round in a variety of matches, including state competition and the annual national TSA conference.
Oak Mountain Middle School’s robotics students took first place in two competitions – Robot Skills and the Team Work Challenge. In the Robot Skills competition, the students competed in programming skills and robot driving skills. In the Teamwork Challenge, students work in two-team collaborative alliances to achieve the highest possible score.
Oak Mountain Middle School also won the Excellence Award, which is the top and most coveted award of the entire competition, according to Sherri Whitehead, Project Lead the Way Engineering teacher and robotics team sponsor.
For the Excellence Award, judges review the team’s Robot Skills score and the score of the team’s submitted engineering notebook to determine the best overall team. Competition attire and team conduct throughout the event are also factors for the Excellence Award.
“I cannot put into words how impressed I am with the things Mrs. Whitehead and her students accomplish in these challenging robotics competitions with middle and even high school students from all over the nation,” said principal, Dr. Larry Haynes. “They work so well as a team and constantly are seeking ways to improve. I am so proud of them and will never cease to be amazed at their achievements.”
Whitehead said this current group of robotics students has been involved in the program since they were in sixth grade.
“They are some of the most hardworking and dedicated students I have ever taught. Since coming into my program, this team, 10740G, has won more awards than any other team,” Whitehead said. “The TSA Robotics National Championship is so well deserved! This group of students will be greatly missed as they begin high school next year. I look forward to seeing all they will accomplish at that level as well.”