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TES hosts first VEX competition

Tharptown Elementary School hosted the first VEX Robotics Competition – The Wildbot Throwdown – in Franklin County Feb 8.

Local schools like Tharptown, Vina, Belgreen and Phil Campbell participated, as well as schools from surrounding areas, like Hartselle and Florence. TES Robotics sponsor Jake Ward said 24 teams competed. “It was a huge success as far as fundraising for the school goes,” Ward said.

The proceeds from the competition will go back into the school’s robotics program, which has grown to about 30 students. Participants meet once a week and work with both DASH and VEX robots.

“They seem to love it. They respond well to it and really work hard,” Ward said.

The competition was for third- through sixth-graders and consisted of one practice field, one skills challenge and two competition fields. Each team participated in five matches.

Carol Raney, Janet Lovelady and Marsha Inmon were the judges for the design portion of the competition, which included an engineering notebook and a discussion with the judges. Lovelady said the competition went over very well, with one aspect in particular standing out to her: “The students who volunteered their time and assisted with the event really made a difference and helped it run smoothly,” Lovelady said.

A team from New Bethel won the Excellence Award, which was for the highest, overall quality with the VEX robot. A team from Colbert Heights won the Design Award. A team from Crestline was the Skills Champion, with the highest combined programming and driving skills.

“I want to thank everyone who helped make this event possible, including Kendra Ward, Tracy Elgin, Erin Masterson, Mandy Odom, Melissa Kiel and Monica Elliot,” Ward said.