Evangel places second at BEST robotics championship

By EMILY REED / Special to the Reporter

ALABASTER – Evangel Christian School in Alabaster recently placed second at the south’s BEST robotics championship at Auburn University.

Evangel team sponsor Stephen Daniels said this is the fifth year for Evangel students to participate in BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology).

At the competition, held Dec. 3-4, Evangel received the second place Robotics Award, which is presented to teams whose robots are top performers during a series of head-to-head matches on a playing field designed for this year’s game titled, “bet the farm.”

The challenge behind the game was for each team to create a robot that could plant corn seeds, harvest and deliver ripe corn, hydroponic tomatoes and hydroponic lettuce, secure loose pigs and feed them, and turn on a water valve, according to a release from the BEST competition.

Daniels said there were about 22 students from Evangel that attended the event in Auburn.

“We started preparing for the competition this year in August with a few preliminary meetings before the official kickoff on Sept. 23, when the game was revealed,” Daniels said in an e-mail. “We then met three times a week for about 2.5 hours each meeting until the regional event at Auburn.”

Daniels said students participating range in grades from sixth grade to seniors in high school.

BEST Robotics is a national robotics program for middle and high school students that culminates in one of three regional championships, including South’s BEST.

This year’s championship at Auburn featured 58 teams from 16 hubs located in five southeastern states.

Evangel is part of the Selma BEST Robotics hub, which is headquartered at Wallace Community College in Selma.

Now in its 23rd year nationally, 2016 marked the 16th year of the south’s BEST championship.

The BEST Robotics program is the only such program in the nation that is available to all schools at no cost.

According to the release, the not-for-profit, all-volunteer program challenges students to design, build and market a robot to use in a six-week-long series of competitions, culminating in the South’s BEST championship, which is hosted by Auburn University’s College of Sciences and Mathematics and the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.

The primary objective of the BEST Robotics program is to provide students with real-world engineering experience that incorporates the practical application of math and science, prepare students to be technologically literate and better prepared to enter the workforce, help students develop leadership, project management, teamwork and organizational skills and develop confidence and competence.