Over the past nine months, students have prepared and competed in a series of challenges that required critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills. On Saturday, May 5, students were put to the ultimate test at the Regional Autonomous Robotics Circuit, Competition IV. The day of competition was actually a series of three events. First, teams constructed a robot that autonomously found its way through a complex maze. Second, teams had 30 minutes to modify their robots to detect oncoming threats and then engaged those threats once they broke a threshold. Lastly, students were given a “box of parts” and were required to build a mechanism to move cargo from one point to another while overcoming obstacles.  To make things really tough, students were not aware of the challenges they were going to face when they arrived at the competition. Each team did receive hints regarding the three mystery challenges prior to Saturday’s event but specifics were withheld.

After an intense day of competitions, the teams were anxious to see which schools were to be named RARC’s Competition IV winners and the overall RARC grand champions. Competition IV winners were awarded based on their performance and accuracy during the challenges. Stockwell Elementary-Team 4 placed first in the elementary division. Stockwell Elementary-Team 5 was awarded second place with Stockwell Elementary-Team 1 placing third. In the middle school division, Benton Middle School-Tigers 2 placed first with Ridgewood Middle School-Team 1 placing second and Rusheon Middle School-Rusheon Robotics earning third place. Southwood High School-Southwood Blue won first in the high school division. Parkway High School-Parkway Panthers won second place and Haughton High School–H-Team placed third.
The overall RARC grand champions were named based on the accumulation of points earned per team from all four competitions. If schools competed with more than one team, each team’s score was averaged together for the overall placement. Central Park Elementary emerged as the elementary grand champions. Benton Middle School became the grand champions of the middle school division, and the high school division grand champion was Parkway High School. All first, second and third place teams were awarded trophies, technology awards for their schools, and a pizza party provided by the Cyber Innovation Center.