FIRST LEGO League Qualifier TOURNAMENT IN RALEIGH, NC
The FIRST LEGO League is a global initiative designed to engage children between the ages of 4 and 14 in STEM subjects by offering interactive and stimulating educational experiences.
It encourages students to enhance their problem-solving abilities through collaborative participation in robotics projects on a global level. Adventist Robotics, a non-profit organization committed to inspiring and engaging students in STEM education, sponsors nine qualifying tournaments and a final championship in Florida.
The 2nd Annual Adventist Robotics Regional Qualifying Tournament in Carolina was held at the Adventist Christian Academy in Raleigh, N,C, from March 31 to April 2, 2023. LaFayette Trawick, the Carolina tournament director, stated that the event this year featured 65 students
from eight schools in six different states, divided into nine teams competing in total.
This year’s tournament had a “Super Powered” theme, which encouraged participants to “explore where energy comes from and how it is distributed, stored, and used – and then put their super powered creativity to work to innovate for a better energy future.” Students presented heir ideas to a panel of judges who evaluated their presentations and ideas. In the second phase of the tournament, teams competed against each other to earn points by completing a series of challenges within 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
According to Cara Simonds, Associate Superintendent of Education at the Carolina Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, the tournament provides a platform for students to collaborate, support each other, showcase their creativity, and technical skills. Simonds emphasized that the students learned critical thinking skills, experimented, and worked collaboratively, which would help them succeed in future endeavors.
Mel Wade, Director of Adventist Robotics, emphasized that the tournament’s primary focus was on learning rather than winning. “What we learn is more important than what we win,” Wade said.
For the second year in a row, the RoboRevelators from Tri-city Christian Academy in High Point, N.C, emerged as the overall winners of the tournament. However, the event’s underlying message was that winning was not the only important thing. The tournament provided a platform for students to showcase their creativity and technical skills while encouraging collaboration and sportsmanship. Chantell Coetzer, head coach of the RoboRevelators, expressed her pride in her students’ accomplishments and emphasized that winning was just “the cherry on top” of the weekend. “The students’ collaboration, hard work, and the skills they developed will help them succeed in the future,” Coetzer said.
With the win, the RoboRevelators secure a spot in the National Championship in Apopka, F.L. The Gear Girls from the Adventist Christian Academy of Raleigh placed second and will also advance to the National Championship where they will compete against Adventist Schools
around North America.
Overall, the 2nd Annual Adventist Robotics Carolina Regional Qualifying Tournament was a resounding success. The event provided students with an exciting and educational experience, where they demonstrated their impressive problem-solving skills and innovative solutions. The tournament emphasized the importance of collaboration and learning together, where the students’ hard work and dedication will undoubtedly serve them well in the future.
—Story and photos by Henrique Gomes