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Mar. 5, 2018
HCC to Host Fourth Annual Robotics Tournament
WELDON, N.C. – Halifax Community College (HCC) is hosting the Fourth Annual Roanoke River Valley Education Consortium (RRVEC) Ultineers Robotics Tournament on March 10.

This year's tournament is slated to be the largest to date, according to Joe Kronner, co-founder of Must Innov8, Inc., the organization behind the event. Middle school students from five counties – Bertie, Halifax, Hertford, Northampton and Warren – will be competing for the final prize. There are 22 teams registered, with approximately 220 students competing.

"We are excited to be hosting this year’s tournament," said Dr. Michael Elam, president of HCC. "What excites me is that this program attracts kids from all backgrounds and demographics."

The students competing have been planning for this for months. Each team was given a robot "brain" and over 1,000 Lego pieces to use in designing and building a custom robot that can perform complex tasks. Once it was designed, students used special "drag and drop" software to program the robot.

Each team will bring their robot designs to the Griffin Centre on HCC’s campus on March 10 for judging. Teams are judged on creativity and functionality, as well as other criteria. After the judging takes place, the final competition will begin at 1:00 p.m.

"The teams spend the first six to eight weeks designing, building and programming their robots," said Dr. Anitra Wells, superintendent of Weldon City Schools. "Then, they begin to scrimmage against other teams. That is often an eye-opening experience when they see how other teams are taking creative approaches to completing the robot missions. It is all about causing students to think outside the box to find more efficient ways to complete the robot missions and score more points."

During the competition, teams of two to ten students are challenged to complete as many "robot missions" as possible, with the maximum number being 14. They only have 150 seconds to complete the challenges, as well.

"Kids find robotics almost as addictive as video games," said Dr. Eric Cunningham, superintendent of Halifax County Schools. "The only difference is that robotics prepares them for exciting, high-paying careers. They acquire knowledge and skills that will be valuable no matter what they choose to do."

The RRVEC Ultineers Robotics Tournament is open to the public, and students of all ages are encouraged to attend. The tournament will provide even non-participants the opportunity to learn about robotics and the impact it has on the world around us. In addition, for younger students, it provides the opportunity to learn about the tournament and how to compete in future years.

“FIRST Lego League Robotics, which is in our elementary schools, often attracts kids that have never had success with science and math in the classroom,” said Elam. “These competitions can play an important role in changing attitudes and interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) classes and careers.”

For more information, please contact Joe Kronner at 336-768-4354 or joe@MUST-Innov8.com.
Halifax Community College's Mission
Halifax Community College strives to meet the diverse needs of our community by providing high-quality, accessible and affordable education and services for a rapidly changing and globally competitive marketplace.
Media Contact: Molly Wallace, Director of Public Relations & Marketing, mwallace786@halifaxcc.edu, 252-538-4319