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Anna Boulware cheers on her Seaside Neighborhood School classmates at the Ninth Annual BEST Robotics competition in Pensacola.
Photo submitted by Zandra Wolfgram.

Seaside Neighborhood School is a winner. A team of 80 middle school students from Seaside Neighborhood School ventured to the University of West Florida in Pensacola last month to compete for the Emerald Coast Hub in the Ninth Annual BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) Robotics Competition.

 

This year, the competition expanded to include 23 schools from all five counties in the Emerald Coast region. The theme of this year’s competition was “Bet The Farm.” Teams had 42 days to build a robot, documenting the engineering process along the way. The robot was expected to be able to harvest and deliver corn, turn on a water valve to keep the crops hydrated, harvest tomatoes and lettuce and deliver them to a farmer’s market stand, corral pigs and feed them.

 

Seaside Neighborhood School earned awards for marketing presentation (first place), t-shirt design (second place), and overall robot (sixth place).

 

Seaside Neighborhood School—along with Woodlawn Beach Middle School, Gulf Breeze High School and Pace High School—qualifies to advance to the regional championship at South’s BEST Robotics competition, which comprises 16 hubs from the Southeast. It will be hosted at Auburn University Dec. 2-4.

 

BEST Robotics Inc. (BRI) is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization whose mission is to engage and excite students about engineering, science, and technology as well as inspire them to pursue careers in these fields.

 

Seaside Neighborhood School competes in the Emerald Coast BEST Hub, which is the only hub located in Florida.

 

Through participation in this project-based STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program, students learn to analyze and solve problems utilizing the Engineering Design Process, which helps them develop technological literacy skills. It is these skills that industry seeks in its workforce.

 

Each competing team is evaluated in a number of categories, including robot design, performance, aesthetic, team spirit, sportsmanship, marketing and presentation.

 

Each fall, more than 850 middle and high schools and more than 18,000 students participate in the competition. Last year, a team of Seaside Neighborhood School students won seven BEST awards in the Emerald Coast Hub competition, qualifying the team to advance to the regional contest, where the team was named the 2015 BEST robotics award winner.

 

“We are so proud of our students,” says Seaside Neighborhood School principal Kim Mixson. “This multi-faceted challenge provides many ways for all students to contribute their talents and get involved. Each and every student found a way to shine and stepped up as the smart and creative leaders they are.”

 

For more information on Seaside Neighborhood School, call 850-231-0396 or visit seasideschool.net.

– Zandra Wolfgram
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