photo of Stephanie Raper

Stephanie Raper
In the Loop Editor


Robotics Team Competition

Robotics Team
The Grenada School District's Robotics team, Pure Imagination # 11279, consists of seventh and eighth grade members Keirin Alberg, Carson Little, Avery McMechan, and Quanterio Taylor. This was the Robotics team's 3rd year to compete in the First Tech Challenge (FTC). Over 50 teams in Mississippi and 5000 in the world compete in FTC. Coached by Mr. Ryan Melton at Grenada Middle School, Pure Imagination competed in two qualifying tournaments, one in Pearl, Mississippi and one in Senatobia, Mississippi, as well as the State Championship at the University of Mississippi. FTC is an organization that prides itself on helping students think outside of the box, in order to excel at building and writing the programming to run their robotic creations. The competition, however, is not the most important part. During the process of developing their robot for competition and the subsequent competitions, the students learn to be Gracious Professionals. Gracious Professionalism is part of the ethos of FIRST. This philosophy encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and teaches respect of individuals and the community.

Pure Imagination enjoyed success at both tournaments. At the Pearl Qualifier, the team won the Connect Award; given to the team that team that most connects with their local science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) community. The team underwent an interview and judging process prior to winning this award. Winning the Connect Award secured eligibility at the state championship for the team.

At the Senatobia Qualifier, the team won several awards after a hard day of competition. The robot, Charlie, performed like a champ with a very reliable program and a great autonomous (when the robot has to operate by itself). The human members of the team also performed amazingly well on their interviews. Awards included first runner-up for the Design Award, second runner-up for the Collins Aerospace Innovate Award, first runner-up for the Think Award, and they also captured the Inspire Award. While all of these awards are great achievements, the Inspire Award is the most coveted. This award is given to the team that is a strong ambassador for FIRST programs and a role model FIRST team. An Inspire Award team is a top contender for many other judged awards and is a gracious competitor. The Inspire Award winner inspires other teams, acting with Gracious Professionalism® both on and off the playing field. The students were thrilled to win this prestigious award!

The Mississippi First Tech Challenge State Championship, held on February 22 and 23rd, pitted 24 of the best robotic teams in the state against one another. This was Grenada's third year to compete in the Championship. Even though they didn't bring home the win, Pure Imagination members and Charlie the Robot performed at a championship level. Congratulations!