Elementary, middle, and high school teams from Bossier, Caddo, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Sabine, Vernon, and Webster Parishes and Bowie County, Texas, converged on the Bossier Civic Center on Saturday, April 27, 2019, for the Regional Autonomous Robotics Circuit (RARC) of Northwest Louisiana Competition 3.
RARC is a series of three cyber and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) competitions for students in grades 2-12.
Unlike the first two competitions of the school year, teams did not receive all challenges in advance of Competition 3. Rather, the complete guidelines were released after opening ceremonies, and teams had one hour to use the cyber, STEM, and 21st Century skills they have acquired throughout the school year to develop a strategy, design their robot, and write a program to accomplish as many tasks as possible in the allotted time limit for round one and two.
“This year’s theme, Marine Discovery, has allowed students to explore concepts like marine biology, oceanography, mineralogy, ichthyology, and more. Competition 3 introduces meteorology. We are pleased Kalie Pluchel, KSLA’s First Alert Meteorologist, provided the students and their parents with a presentation about her work. Presentations by local professionals reinforce how much cyber and STEM affect our everyday lives and how many cyber and STEM career opportunities available to our students,” said Kevin Nolten, Director of Academic Outreach for the Cyber Innovation Center.
Throughout the competition, teams accumulated points based on their performance and were ranked accordingly. In the elementary division, South Highlands 5 emerged as the first place winner followed by South Highlands 4 in second place and Kingston Elementary 1 in third place. Webster Middle 4 triumphed in the middle school division and was awarded first place. Greenacres 1 won second place, and Donnie Bickham 1 was named the third place winner. In the high school division, Caddo Magnet 6 earned first place followed by Airline High 1 in second place and Cope High in third place.
Grand champions were also named based on an overall circuit score, which is a tally of the highest point total earned by each school’s top team at each competition. Scores from all three competitions were given equal weight. After calculating each school’s existing scores with the results of Competition 3, the following schools/organizations finished in the top three in each division: South Highlands (Elementary School, 1st Place); Plantation Park and Kingston Elementaries (Elementary School, tied for 2nd place), ; Webster (Middle School, 1st place); Greenacres (Middle School, 2nd place); Elm Grove (Middle School, 3rd place); Cope (High School, 1st place); Airline (High School, 2nd place); and Caddo Magnet (High School, 3rd place). All grand champions received technology awards to further the robotics programs at their schools.
In addition to these team and school awards, one individual award winner was announced. Thanks to a grant from Lockheed Martin Corporation, RARC was able to offer one, non-renewable $1,000 scholarship to a high school senior and RARC competitor who plans to pursue cyber and STEM at a two-year college or four-year university. The winner of the RARC scholarship is Kevin Oubre from Catholic High School, who plans to major in Computer Science at Louisiana Tech University.
“I am beyond proud that a program created here in Bossier Parish has served thousands of students from so many parishes and counties over the last year eight years. RARC provides informal education, career discovery, technology for the classroom, and post-secondary education support. Furthermore, Bossier Parish Libraries were on-site to promote programs to keep RARC students engaged over the summer,” commented Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker.
RARC is sponsored by the Cyber Innovation Center’s NICERC, Bossier Parish Schools, the City of Bossier City, and Caddo Parish Schools. To learn more about RARC, please visit http://nicerc.org/rarc/ or www.facebook.com/CIC.NICERC.