The Decatur-Austin Robotics Coalition did it again.
The group of 32 tech-savvy students from Decatur and Austin high schools took home third place Sunday in a grueling competition that was the culmination of almost a year of work for the students, teachers and mentors involved.
The two-day event at Auburn University featured 57 teams that already had surfaced to the top among hundreds of teams participating in regional Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology competitions. They came from top public and private schools in eight states: Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Mississippi. DARC had to prevail over teams from Huntsville just to make it to the competition.
One component of the event involved the success of student-built robots in performing complex tasks. In more than 100 three-minute rounds, the robots had to pick up various objects from the floor, climb tall poles and place the objects in defined spots.
Unlike most teams, DARC does not allow adults in the pit area, where last-minute repairs take place before upcoming rounds. On Sunday, that meant it was a group of unsupervised students facing the reality that the arm mount on their robot was broken, and they had just minutes before the next competition. In a remarkable example of engineering-on-the-fly, knowing that failure would end DARC’s hopes for the tournament, they solved the problem and made it into the semifinals.
This team of teenagers from Decatur beat out all the teams — from Atlanta to Nashville to Mobile — to win the coveted Founders Award for Creative Engineering Design. The team did well enough in diverse categories — from a marketing presentation to website design to preparation of an engineering notebook — to capture the third-place trophy.
And to the great pleasure of the team members, Austin High School teacher Susan Haddock, the team coordinator, received the Teacher of the Year Award.
Pessimism occasionally infects Decatur residents when they contemplate their community. The most effective cure is to watch the city’s extraordinary youth.
If the students of Decatur and Austin high schools play a role in Decatur’s future, great things are ahead.
Not registered? Click here
|High School Sports||@DecaturPreps|