Ten teams from five Arkansas schools competed recently in the first annual Hope Academy of Public Service VEX IQ Next Level Robotics Tournament with Crossett Middle School winning four of seven categories in the event.
The HAPS robotics program hosted the event at Hempstead Hall on the University of Arkansas – Hope campus.
The Engineering Eagles from Crossett won the Excellence Award, both Teamwork Championships, and the Sportsmanship Award. The Magnolia Junior High School Cubs won the Design Award and Magnolia Team won the Judges Award. The Swarm from Camden Harmony Grove High School won the Robot Skills Championship.
HAPS science teacher and robotics sponsor Carol Hendrix explained the tournament format.
“Teams compete in qualification matches during the morning to secure a spot in the finals matches after lunch,” Hendrix said. “Judging also takes place during the morning to determine several awards.”
Teams of two students each competed in the skills and match play competition. In match play, each student is the “driver” for half of the one-minute round where teams must relocate orange and yellow “hubs” to specific spots on the game grid to compile points. Teams are given the opportunity to combine in pairs for the Teamwork Award, and all participants vote on the winner of the Sportsmanship Award, given to the team demonstrating the most encouraging attitude and professionalism toward opponents.
The VEX IQ Challenge is a concept of VEX Robotics, a division of Innovation First International, Inc., which produces educational robotics kits for classrooms and competition which can be customized to meet student skill and intellectual levels in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs. The Texas-based company is also the sponsor of the largest student-based robotics competition on record, according to the company website.
HAPS robotics program teams include:
Sixth grade IQ – Fabian Aguilar, Carter Berry, Trenton Hart, Cesar Marquez, Brayden Russell, and Aaron Smith.
Seventh grade IQ – Sarahi Acosta, Katie Arroyo, Amber Cisneros, Jamesha Sorrells, and Jena Brown.
Eighth-Ninth grade VRC – Jacquelin Jimenez, Jaelyn Lara, Lili-Ann Adamson, Kristin Morrison, and Timothy Minney.
Seventh-Eighth grade VRC – Yahir Jimenez, Sergio Martinez, Jose Martinez, Jesse Barton, Jordan Brooks, and Vincent Marks.
Ninth grade VRC – Juan Leon, Cody Clayton, Alecia Bradley, Diego Ortiz, Colin Easterling, Courtland Jackson, and Mika Brown.