Five area schools get nods for North Dakota robotics competition

The robotics course taking center stage in the campus gymnasium.

The robotics course taking center stage in the campus gymnasium.

Credit: Marcia Newell

A total of five area schools have received bids to compete in the BEST Robotics Regionals in North Dakota following the preliminary competition at Penn State DuBois on Oct. 24, and 25. Those schools invited to participate in the contest slated for Dec. 4 to 6 at North Dakota State University are DuBois Area High School, DuBois Central Catholic, Brockway Area High School, Overbrook High School of Philadelphia and Ridgway Area High School.

Scores for the competition were incredibly close, and therefore called for a quality check and extensive final tabulation. A thorough examination of the scoring data revealed a tie for first place between DuBois Area High School and DuBois Central Catholic. There was also a tie for third place between Brockway and Overbrook.  These teams competed in all areas of the BEST competition including the robotics obstacle course contest as well as areas including marketing, exhibition, sportsmanship and team spirit. Ridgway chose to compete only in the robotics portion and won their bid to North Dakota for their third place performance in that portion. Administrators from each school will determine if they are able to send their teams to the North Dakota event.

"We congratulate the students from each of these schools on their opportunity to travel to the regional championships in North Dakota. It’s clear that they put a great deal of hard work, ingenuity and passion into their robotics projects and it paid off," said Penn State DuBois Chancellor Melanie Hatch. "Each team brought a unique perspective and set of strengths to the competition and they all demonstrated just how much talent the youth in our region have for engineering and science. We hope events like this will inspire them to explore their options for potential career paths and for life in general."

BEST provides all necessary parts and equipment for teams to build a robot that they can use to run a course and perform specified tasks. The robot must be built within a six-week time frame. On the days of the contest, all teams ran the course, competing for the best times and course completion. Through participation in this project-based program, students learn to analyze and solve problems utilizing the Engineering Design Process, which helps them develop technological literacy skills. The goal is to better prepare these students for further education and careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

BEST at Penn State DuBois was made possible by support from the Fairman Family Foundation, Atlas Pressed Metals and the Missile Defense Agency STEM Outreach.