Students build robot for competition

Coming together: James Roper, 17, Thorsby High School, Katelyn Ramsey, 16, Isabella High School, and Cain Castleberry, 17, Thorsby High School prepare the robot to compete in Saturday’s competition.

Thirty-five students from Chilton County are gearing up to participate in the BEST (Boosting Engineering Science and Technology) robotics competition Oct. 6 at UAB’s Bartow Arena.

Robotics program founder Jay LeCroy said the team is excited about the competition, noting the many hours devoted to constructing the robot.

“The students and staff have put in tremendous after- school hours,” LeCroy said. “We are all just looking forward to the competition and seeing how well we do.”

LeCroy said the challenge given to students participating in the robotics competition was to construct a robot that would climb 10 feet and move in an upward and downward motion. The students were given six weeks to design, develop and test the robot before competing against other schools in Alabama.

“The concept is based on a space elevator idea,” LeCroy said. “The idea generated from a futuristic concept of space elevators with floating subdivisions that have people living in space.”

LeCroy said an integral part of the construction process for a robot is going from brainstorming an idea to construction.

“That is the whole engineering process,” LeCroy said. “These are real world skills the students learn that will help them when they pursue careers in these particular fields of work.”

The robotics program, originally founded several years ago, was based at Isabella High School and moved to LeCroy Career Tech Center Aug. 20.

LeCroy said the decision to base the program at the tech center was based on interest from students in the rest of the county that wanted to participate.

LeCroy teaches the physics side of the program with building construction instructor Jason Sosa focusing on the engineering side.

LeCroy’s wife Nelda teaches technical writing to the students who help construct the 30-page science notebook detailing how the robot works to submit at the competition.

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