Robotics teams to practice Saturday

The local extension of Texas State Technical College (TSTC) West Texas has been getting ready for its second year of their BEST robotics program on its campus which began on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2012.The first of three events for the Big Country BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) competition was the BEST Kickoff which was Saturday, Sept. 7. Participants were introduced to the game where rules were reviewed and a demonstration was provided before entry kits were distributed to each school.The next event will be tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, at Texas State Technical College. This will be the first practice day and will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.Three area schools are involved in BEST — Sweetwater, including a team at Sweetwater High School and one at Sweetwater Middle School; Roscoe; and Highland.The BEST competition was founded in 1993 in Texas by two engineers from Texas Instruments, Ted Mahler and Steve Marum, with 14 schools and 221 students. Eighteen years later, the program has grown with competitions held in 15 states in over 850 schools with over 12,500 students involved.The program strives to engage, excite and inspire students to pursue careers in the three aspects highlighted in the competition — engineering, science and technology.Students are provided with real-world engineering experience and prepared to be technologically literate. In addition, participants glean a variety of leadership, project management, teamwork and organizational skills while building confidence and competence within the fields.The program has two divisions: robotics and the BEST award. In Robotics, the team from the school must also enter a Project Engineering Notebook, which describes the Engineering Design Process and how it was used in designing the robot.The BEST Award is the top achievement — which includes an oral presentation, educational exhibit, spirit and sportsmanship as well as robot performance. With marketing making up 25% of the total score and the exhibit also consisting of 25%, half of the entire score goes beyond the robotics aspect.Sweetwater Intermediate School has four robotics teams. Shown are (in no particular order) Jesica Aguilera, Carson Andrews, Jackie Arellano, Kimberly Arpin, Tristan Baker, Samantha Bugarin, Michaela Currie, Tristyn Davis, Xandria DeLaCruz, Reese Hayes, Rylan Hayes, Cooper Hrbacek, Austin Moreland, Jonathan Sanchez, Kaylee Thomas, Caleb Reed, Faith Santiago, Collin Stafford, Gavin Reyes, Caden von Atzigen, Kaitlyn Chance, Daiman Atkins, Nickolas Cantu, Joseph Collins, Elizabeth Fernandez, Brody Frieda, Zachariah Garza, Makenna Miher, Jasen Nelson, Andres Neri, Hailey Orozco, Kendale Orozco, Gabriella Pena, Isaiah Pena, Carlos Perez, Joshua Reeves, Daniella Renteria & Katie Tyson.