Fletcher robotics team places at national competition


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Three Fletcher High School students recently put their school and the district on the map by beating out 67 teams during the national robotics competition held in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Nick Karnes, Matt Salfer-Hobbs and Stewart Knox competed in the Global Conference on Educational Robotics, also known as Botball. The team earned a Judge's Choice award, second-place in the head-to-head competition, and placed fourth overall.

"Everyone felt good going into the competition because we knew that we had what was needed to win on a national level," said Tom LaPointe, Fletcher High School physics teacher and the team's coach.

The students qualified to compete nationally during the regional championship that was held last spring at the University of North Florida.

"These types of academic-based competitions help strengthen our students' math, science and technical skills," said Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals. "I'm proud of the students, teachers and parents on a job well done."

The Botball Educational Robotics program engages middle and high school students in a team-oriented robotics competition based on national science education standards. By designing, building, programming and documenting robots, students use science, engineering, technology, math and writing skills in a hands-on project that reinforces their learning.

The Botball season begins each year in September with an optional video showcase where teams are asked to prepare educational, promotional or instructional videos related to robotics projects or endeavors.

In January and February, the Botball educator workshops provide team leaders and mentors with technology training and introduce the details of that year's game. Then, after a build period of about seven weeks, students bring their robots to their regional tournament.

For more information about Botball, visit its website.