Seymour schools participate in local robotics tournament


The stakes were high in the second Seymour Elementary Schools Robotics Showcase on March 2 as 32 students from all five elementary schools in the district took turns operating remote-controlled robots.

For 1-minute rounds, teams battled each other to see which robot was the fastest at picking up small orange balls and different colored blocks and placing them in certain spots on the playing arena.

Parents, teachers and family members filled the bleachers at Seymour-Jackson Elementary School to watch the students compete.

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“This is an opportunity for the community and staff to see the best robots and teams from each school,” said district technology director Shawn Mahoney.

After eight matches for each team, the points were totaled.

In the end, Margaret R. Brown Elementary School was named the overall winner of the tournament, having earned the most combined team points. They were presented with the Robotics Cup trophy and helped Brown earn points toward the yearlong Elementary Cup challenge.

Brown Robotics team members participating were Clever Lopez Garcia, Isis Ortiz, Jakaih Young, Ethan Hart, Olivia Wilp, Alex Money, Kahne Morris and Nikita Cox.

The team is coached by teacher Jennifer Regruth and school librarian Kelli Moore.

“I have enjoyed every minute of this year’s robotics season,” Moore said. “The Brown Bears robotics team is amazing. They improved their scores all season long, and they are also very creative.”

Coming in first place was Leo Holle and Gavin Burnside of Seymour-Redding Elementary School. Second place went to Oliver Lanam, Paul Cole, Arlo Ollmann and Clayton Reedy from Cortland Elementary School, and third went to Brown.

Students have spent months building, programming and learning how to operate their VEX robots and practicing the Squared Away game during robotics club meetings before or after school.

They’ve also competed in state-qualifying meets throughout the year at Immanuel Lutheran School.

Money said robotics is fun but requires a lot of teamwork.

“The first day, I was a little bit nervous, and then after that, I was OK with it,” he said of joining the robotics club. “Then I started to get the hang of our robot, and then we started getting in the finals. We made it twice, and I was pretty proud of that.”

Money said he was thrilled when they went into the final match of the competition and ended up winning by one point to earn the Robotics Cup trophy.

“I liked it a lot,” he said.

Being in robotics has given Money more confidence and taught him some valuable lessons.

“It’s OK to lose,” he said. “It’s not always about winning.”

That’s because students who are in robotics gain so much more from the experience.

“We learn team building, coding and just getting to know each other,” he said.

For Money, building the robots isn’t the most difficult part.

“The driving is the hard part,” he said. “We got the hang of it, though.”

Seymour-Jackson Elementary school student Kenzi Henkle said she likes being in robotics club because she gets to be with her friends, go to competitions and build robots.

“I learned how to make robots and know how to strategize with other people,” she said.

It takes strategy and practice to get the best scores, she added.

What makes robotics challenging is learning how to build the robots, she said.

Mahoney said Seymour Community Schools is proud to participate in the countywide robotics program supported by Jackson County Industrial Development Corp. and local businesses.

This summer, SCSC students in fourth through seventh grades interested in robotics and coding can sign up for the summer robotics camps during the first two weeks of June. Activities include building and coding robots, problem-solving, teamwork and visits to industries in the area.

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