The Davidson High School BEST Robotics Team has arrived at the White House where the President Barack Obama will applaud the word of Jubilee BEST Robotics. Robin Fenton, Hub Director of Jubilee BEST, is currently ushering three students (Jacob Bosarge, 17, Nolan Lenard, 16, and Rupa Palanki, 17) into the White House to set up their exhibit and test the robot.
On Wednesday, April 13, they return to the White House for the grand event with the president. The students will meet with Alabama Sens. Richard Shelby, Jeff Sessions and U.S. Rep. Byrne on Thursday, April 14. The team had one week to raise $30,000 to cover transportation, hotel accommodations and meals for approximately 45 participants and thanks to the support of the Mobile and South Alabama community, met this goal.
This is all because, on April 13, Obama will host his sixth and final White House Science Fair, welcoming more than 100 top science, technology, engineering and math students from across the country to show us how they are going to change the future of America. The White House will transform for the day into a hands-on showcase of student innovation: robots, prototypes, tools to help us fight climate change and cancer — all researched, built, and designed by the next generation of America’s scientists.
In 2004, as a struggling Mobile County, Alabama, school trying to find its identity in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) world, the W.P. Davidson faculty and students decided to take a leap of faith and participate in the BEST Robotics program. The team had no tools to manufacture a robot, no space to work, and no classes devoted to engineering, and the newly formed robotics team went to the community for donations.
In a relatively short period of time, their hard work, success and motivation lead to the creation of the EPIC Program (Engineering Pathways Integrated Curriculum) for their school. Now, in 2016, W.P. Davidson High School is home to the largest K-12 engineering program in the state of Alabama, all students have access to 3D printers, CNC machines, and advanced simulation software and the faculty and students mentor schools throughout the Gulf Coast region and the Black Belt of Alabama, encouraging more students to become excited about science and engineering.
W.P. Davidson High School has become one of the best of the BEST in Alabama, winning 1st Place Overall BEST Award in the Jubilee BEST Robotics Competition and 2nd Place Overall BEST Award in the South’s BEST Regional Championship—making W.P. Davidson’s team the highest-ranking team in Alabama.
Take plywood and a box filled with items such as PVC pipe, screws and other hardware, a block of aluminum, piano wire, aluminum paint grid, a bicycle inner tube, a VEX Control System, and something called a micro-energy chain system and try, within six weeks, to design and build a functioning machine that can perform certain, specific tasks in three minutes. What do you get?
You get BEST, a middle and high school robotics competition whose mission is to engage and excite students about engineering, science, and technology as well as inspire them to pursue careers in these fields. Through participation in project-based STEM program, students learn to analyze and solve problems utilizing the Engineering Design Process, which helps them develop technological literacy skills. It is these skills that industry seeks in its workforce.
Each year, Jubilee BEST Robotics has 40 teams from local middle and high schools, 1,100 students, and over 5,000 from our community at the Mitchell Center engaged in a program that mimics industry and engineering. Students were given their kits in September and have 42 days to plan, design, build, and automate a robot to complete a certain task as well as write engineering notebooks, put together a “company” and marketing presentation, and build an exhibit booth to engage the community. Jubilee BEST also holds “Shark Tank” style spring games. For more information, visit jubileebest.org. BEST makes it happen!
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