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Three county schools earned a coveted golden ticket to the state finals Saturday by winning the Cherokee County First Lego League (FLL) robotics qualifier.
Corinth Elementary Cobotics won the tabletop game competition based on this year’s “Trash Trek” project theme. The Alma All-Stars won the Core Values award for their teamwork while the Blacksburg Middle Robocats received the robot design award.
All three Cherokee County teams will advance to the Western SC State FLL competition planned for Feb. 6, at Easley High School. Winners from the state competition will earn tickets to compete in the national robotics finals.
Alma Elementary qualified for the state finals for a second year in a row. This year’s team was recognized for modeling the FLL core values of teamwork, learning together to find solutions to problems, and honoring the spirit of friendly competition.
“We saw wonderful teamwork from our students. It was great to see how the children valued each others’ contributions and worked together to solve the problem,” Alma Elementary Principal Kim Camp said. “This is a great accomplishment for our robotics team to advance to the state finals for a second time.”
About 200 students from Cherokee and York counties designed and built autonomous robots over the past several months. Students were given a project mission to make less trash and find solutions for better ways to find trash in their community.
“We worked to solve it in a way that would allow us to create many solutions to the problem of people throwing things away without even thinking about it,” Corinth Elementary robotics team coach Dr. Virginia Scates said. “The children saw a problem with all of the large cans being thrown away from the lunchroom every day.”
After learning the cans could be recycled, Corinth Elementary robotics team members researched different ways to use the metal cans from the school cafeteria. The cans were “upcycled” into luminaries, blessing buckets for the homeless, marker containers for the school workroom and teachers who need storage for art supplies in their classroom.
“Planters were designed for plants that are used in our school and for possible Mother’s Day gifts for classes that might be interested in this project. Cans were also ‘upcycled’ into Valentine buckets for student use during the Valentine holiday,” Scates said. “The children did a fantastic job of using their soft skills, which are valuable skills as they move through school and into the workforce.”
Additional winning teams at the Cherokee County event included the Bethany Bio-Bots from Clover as the overall champions; the Diplomats from Lake Wylie won second place in the tabletop competition; the E-Wasters from Lake Wylie won the Project Award; the Crowder
Creek Team 1 won the Rising Star Award; and the Molded Minds from Clover won the Against All Odds Award.
About 70 community volunteers have given their time to make the Cherokee County robotics competition possible every year.
Students learn how to use science and engineering principles to solve problems creatively by designing robots for the annual competition, said Daryl Smith, executive director of Spartanburg Community College’s Cherokee County branch campus.
“These are important problem-solving skills for young people to develop that can be used in any career field, but are particularly necessary for those in science, math and technology related-careers,” Smith said. “Students and coaches spend numerous hours preparing for the competition, but the rewards can be especially appealing since scholarships to the University of South Carolina and Clemson University are available for the FIRST LEGO participants.”