An estimated crowd of more than 1,000 watched Wichita Homeschool of Wichita, Kan., win top honors in this year's Frontier Trails BEST Robotics Regional Competition which is sponsored by the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith and the Fort Smith Convention Center.
Wichita Homeschool won the first place BEST Award and first place Robot Game Award. Competitions under the BEST heading – which stands for Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology – are held across the nation. UAFS is involved in two levels, the River Valley BEST competition and the next level, the Frontier Trails BEST event.
Thirty-five teams representing eight local hub competitions came to the event at the Fort Smith Convention Center on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Each team made a complete presentation describing its project. This year, the project was to design and operate a robot, built from a kit supplied for the task. The game’s theme, “Warp XX,” was based on using a space elevator to re-supply a space station.
"These kids are amazing," said John Martini of Fort Smith, assistant professor at the University and director of the competition. "Their designs are robust and straightforward and their guidance skills are astonishing."
The top-level BEST Award that Wichita Home School won at the Frontier Trails event is given to the top overall team that embodies the concept of BEST.
Metro Homeschool of Blue Springs, Mo., and Circle High School of Towanda, Kan., took second and third places respectively in the BEST competition.
In the robot game competition, Metro Homeschool, Ambassadors for Christ Academy of Bentonville, and Manteno High School of Manteno, Ill., took second, third and fourth places respectively.
Martini said all the judges and referees praised the competition participants.
"Everybody had lots of positive comments to make about the professionalism of the students in their presentations,” Martini said. "Every year my confidence in this young generation grows when I see the effort and imagination they expend on their marketing presentations, engineering notebooks and exhibits."
It’s not all work for the participants, Martini said. The teams have plenty of fun at the competition.
“The ‘Spirit and Sportsmanship’ category was off the charts,” Martini said. “The crowd participation and enthusiasm was loud and loaded with fun."
Martini said the hard work and dedication of volunteers, judges, referees and scorekeepers made for a smooth and amazing good time.
Other awards were:
BEST Marketing Presentation: Manteno High School
BEST Team Exhibit and Interview: Wichita Homeschool
Best Spirit and Sportsmanship: Metro Homeschool
igus Top Gun Award: Wichita Homeschool
First place: Wichita Homeschool
Second place: Ambassadors for Christ Academy
Third place: Perry High School, Perry, Okla.
First place: Smith-Cotton High School, Sedalia, Mo.
Second place: Ridgefield Christian School, Jonesboro
Third place: Muldrow/Gans High Schools, Muldrow, Okla.
First place: Circle High School, Towanda, Kan.
Second place: Metro Homeschool
Third place: Lone Star/Otis High School, Otis, Colo.
First place: Parkview High School, Little Rock
Second place: Metro Homeschool
Third place: Hillcrest High School, Strawberry
First place: Fayetteville Public Schools, Fayetteville
Second place: Buffalo Island Central High School, Leachville
Third place: Valley Springs High School, Valley Springs
Web Page Award:
First place: Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts, Hot Springs
Second place: Oklahoma City Homeschool, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Third place: Metro Homeschool
BEST Project Engineering Notebook: Oklahoma City Homeschool
BEST Spirit and Sportsmanship: Metro Homeschool