Thousands of students, parents, and fans recently packed the Churchland High gym for a battle of the bots.
The school hosted the FIRST Robotics Competition on March 18-19. Our PPS Royal Robotics Team, #3359, earned enough points to qualify for the state event on April 6-8. It will be held at Virginia Commonwealth University. Our team placed 7th out of 30 teams. The students were coached by Crystal Whitfield-Newton and Dr. Melvin Marriner.
The team members are Montavius Gatlin, Matt Jeffries, Barbara Toussant, Ray Smith, Joseph Sawyer, Sadiyah Cox, Alysha Morgan, Hunter Mynes, Gavin Jefferys, Ryan Long, David Hammond, Tiszon Branum, Lauren Schmidt, Patrick Winch, Lauren Schmidt, Isaiah Ross, David Justice.
The team's motto is "Royal Robotics: Where Imagination, Innovation and Integrity is King!"
The local competition attracted teams and fans from across the state. But robotics students do more than play with machines. The robotics program also teaches students about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Students must research and build the robots, test their prowess and perform various maneuvers.
The tournament was sponsored by several companies, including Portsmouth-based SimIS Inc. The local robotics firm partners with Portsmouth Public Schools to inspire students with science.
President & CEO Johnny Garcia attended the event. He said all students should develop a love for science. He especially encourages women and minorities to get involved in STEM activities because they are often underrepresented in those industries.
“Building robots is a fun way to engage students in learning about science,” he said. “As a local business owner, I want to help Hampton Roads students get more opportunities with robotics and learn about the many career opportunities in this field.”
The students will continue to practice for the tournament, and they hope to bring home another victory!