Starkville High RoboJackets compete in South’s BEST regional robotics competition

Rachel Adair

The Starkville High School RoboJackets competed in South’s BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology) regional robotics competition December 7 and 8 at Auburn University. The South’s BEST Region consists of the top 56 teams from 16 local competitions in five states. Top teams from each local hub advance to South’s BEST. This is Starkville High School’s eighth consecutive year advancing out of hub competition.

The RoboJackets competed in all aspects on the BEST competition: engineering notebook, exhibit booth, marketing presentation, spirit and sportsmanship, and robot. Each aspect of competition is worth a certain percentage that goes towards the overall BEST award.

The marketing presentation is a simulated sales pitch that requires students to convince a panel of judges why their robot is better than that of their competition.

“Since being on the marketing team, I have gotten a lot of public speaking experience that will help me as I prepare for college,” senior, Sarah Blanton said.

The engineering notebook consists of the team’s use of the engineering design process throughout the entire construction of their robot.

The spirit and sportsmanship aspect of competition is judged all weekend and given to the most spirited team that also shows qualities of good sportsmanship and positivity. Senior, Kari Oppendal, is in charge of the spirit and sportsmanship aspect of competition.

“I love to see everyone come together and work to support the team during competition,” Oppedal said.

The exhibit booth is a simulated tradeshow where students present significant aspects of their company to judges.
This year, the robot was required to do tasks that simulated repairing the power grid after destruction from a natural disaster. The theme of the competition was “Off the Grid.”

Peyton Brigham, the team’s engineering coordinator has been on the team for four years.

“This weekend was a huge success. We practiced marketing every morning before school for two weeks, and we practiced driving the robot every day after school for four weeks. All of our hard work paid off, and I couldn’t be prouder,” Brigham said.

The team won first place exhibit booth, first place robot, second place marketing presentation, third place spirit and sportsmanship, top ten in engineering notebook, and first overall.

Denise Adair spearheaded the BEST Robotics program at Starkville High School nine years ago.

“My favorite part of BEST Robotics is that it is not just about the robot. There is a place for everyone to be involved because it offers five areas of competition. Our first place finish would not have been possible without every student on the team because they all have a place and purpose,” Adair said.