ROBOTS, ASSEMBLE: Vicksburg Warren School District robotics teams compete in regional competition

Published 2:48 pm Friday, December 10, 2021

This past weekend three schools in the Vicksburg Warren County School District competed in the regional qualifier competition for First Lego League in Flowood.

The Academy of Innovation’s Steamboat Goats, the Bowmar Builders and the South Park Droids were three of the 14 teams that competed.

The Academy of Innovation’s Steamboat Goats walked away with the Champions award, which will afford them the opportunity to compete in the state competition in February.

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The Bowmar Builders, who won the Robot Design Award and the Robot Performance Award also qualified for the state competition.

And while the South Park Droids did not qualify for the state competition, coach Kimberly Reeves said her team just enjoyed participating in the regional competition.

“The kids had a blast. The competition was so fun. There was dancing and cheering,” Reeves said.

The robotics team at Southpark spent more than 20 hours constructing their project, Reeves said, which was a drone that would deliver packages and scan for the customer it was delivering to.

“They designed it to use solar and battery power,” she said. “Their reasoning was that it would produce fewer emissions than trucks and cars. It would also use less manpower because it would be unmanned.”

Coaching the Bowmar Builders were Jim Lewis and Aaron Byrd.

Lewis said his team built, designed, and programmed their robot, which garnered the highest score in the Robot games.

“The robot is built from Lego parts and has a unit that connects to the computer, and so you program the unit to have different things it can do during the competition,” Lewis said, adding building the robot requires computer work from the students while also putting the Lego parts together.

Lewis said the team was excited when they learned they would be eligible for the state competition.

“It was really exciting, and we started making a lot of noise. I don’t even remember hearing the other teams announced because we were so excited to hear our team announced,” Lewis said.

The AOI Steamboat Goats nine-member team’s robot was a basic EV3 build, coach Jay Bratu said.

“But our team members made specific attachments to help the bot complete tasks,” Bratu said. “They went through a trial-and-error stage of development, finally settling on two attachments to help complete tasks. One attachment is a motorized arm to flip switched and open doors. The other attachment is a scoop-like build to help move cargo.”

Bratu, who coached the team alongside Rebecca Hughes and Mark Burgos, said their team was ecstatic when they heard their name called as the winner of the Champions Award.

“They were so excited to hear their name called. I know there was one team member that was so excited she was crying,” Bratu said.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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