MMS Robotics teams qualify for state

Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Manila Middle School Robotic Team 8/1 Destroy won first place in the Core Value and 7th place in Robot Game qualifying them to go on to State Competition in December. Also pictued is Melissa Baker, winner of the FLL Adult coach/mentor award. Two other teams, The Twisters and Team Dynamite, qualified for state.

Manila Middle School Robotic teams have been working and had their robot projects ready for the Saturday, Nov. 16, First Lego League (FLL) Qualifier competition held at Harding Academy in Searcy.

Manila Middle School has 15 teams with four to 10 members on each team.

"We have had a great turn out and response from our students," Melissa Baker, FLL coach said. "The students build the robots, program the robots, create a core values poster, and a presentation. The coaches are here for support but the students do all the work themselves."

Manila Middle School 7th and 8th grade students participating in the robotics program.

Team members are the only ones who decide on strategy, build, program, research, choose a problem and innovative solution, and present at the tournament.

Searcy is one of three qualifying tournaments held in Arkansas. The students are working to advance to the State championship level to be held in Mountain Home on Dec. 21.

Baker said the students appreciate the support from the school and the community.

Students getting ready for competition.

"It is expensive to build the robots and we have 15 teams," Baker said. "Our students raised funding with a barbecue, selling cotton candy and water at the football games and other fundraising events. We have students from the fifth to the eighth grade making up the teams. The seventh and eighth grade students meet every day and the fifth and sixth grade teams meet after school. Team members are dedicated and competitive."

Teams left Saturday morning at 5:45 a.m. to make the 8 a.m. check-in time at Searcy.

Saturday was a full day starting from check-in to the awards and advancement ceremony in the afternoon.

Baker said she is proud of all of the students for a great job and three teams will be moving on to state. The 8/1 Destroy, an eighth grade all girls team won first place in Core Value and 7th place in Robot Game. Members of the team are Andi Jo Baker, Jordan Tyler, Gracyn Smith, Cortney Merritt, Emily Smith, Ollivia Stankiewicz, Natalie Griffin and Taylor Willis.

The Twisters and Team Dynamite qualified for state competition.

Members of the Twisters ae Cade Cater, Hunter Vuletich, Jacob Tarver, Alex Walch, Joshua Galloway, Ethan Navarro, Grant Salzer.

Members of Team Dynamite are Tri Jones, Alexis Emmons, Ali Smith, Loren Davidson, Rachel Shirley and Abby Short.

Melissa Baker, robotic coach, won the FLL Adult Coach/Mentor Award.

"I am so excited for the students, they all did so well," Baker said. "I was really surprised and honored to win an award. We will be working hard between now and Dec. 21 making a few changes and re-evaluating before state competition. We had an overall great day. We appreciate our fans, parents, school board members, teaches, and administrators who were there to cheer us on and support us throughout the year."

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