LUMBERTON — Teams from Fayetteville Academy, CIS Academy and schools across PSRC competed Wednesday in the Robeson Robotics Exhibition at Lumberton Senior High School. 

“This is the first event we have had with all three robotics programs (for elementary, middle and high school grades) at one location at one time,” said PSRC Science Supervisor Susan Miller-Hendrix.

Students could be seen programming their robots and waiting eagerly to engage in competition with their peers. Each challenge included specific goals or obstacles to be met by robots. 

“I hope that they can see robotics from the beginning to the end,” Miller-Hendrix said, referring to a student’s start in a robotics program in elementary school and their completion in a high school program. 

“This has been something that we have wanted in our district since I came on in 2017,” she said.

She said watching the event come to fruition was “exhilarating.”

Megan Williams, the AmeriCorps/FIRST Liaison with Robeson County Schools, told students that they have proved that they can find solutions to complex problems through their involvement in the robotics programs. 

James Freeman, founder and president of Emerging Technology Institute, gave words of inspiration to students at the event on Wednesday. Freeman actively works to help support STEM in the district and has taken team members to multiple schools for presentations involving technology and STEM careers. 

“What you guys are doing is amazing,” Freeman said. 

“Stay focused on what you’re doing. Keep building what you’re building and no matter what you’re doing realize it’s really really cool. We get to do this every day for a living,” he said of ETI professionals who work at a technology hub used by the Department of Defense. 

The following awards were given: 

FIRST Technical Challenge

  • Coyote Bots took home Promote, Inspire, Winning Alliance

  • Red Springs High School took home the Judge Award and Finalist Alliance 

  • Lumberton High School- Lumbotics took home a Design Award

  • St. Pauls High -  Techno Hounds took home the Connect Award, Innovate, and Winning Alliance 

  • Purnell Swett High - Rambotics took home the Finalist Alliance and the Think Award

FIRST LEGO League Challenge 

  • Orrum Middle School - Raiderbots took home the 2nd place Champion Award and 2nd place Core Values

  • Southside-Ashpole - Ponies took home 1st place All Star and 2nd ​‌Place Innovation Project

  • Rex-Rennert - Ruffalos took home 1st place Championship Award and 2nd Place Robot Performance

  • Prospect Elementary - Labcats took home the 1st place Motivate and 1st place Innovation Project

  • Peterson Elementary - Roaring Robots took home the 1st place Robot Performance and 1st Robot Design

  • Magnolia - Masterbuilders took home the 1st place Break Through Award and 2nd Place Engineering Excellence

  • Lumberton Jr. High School - V-Tech Bots took home 2nd place Robot Design and 1st place Engineering Excellence

  • L. Gilbert Carroll Middle School - STEAM Team took home 1st Place Core Values and 2nd Place Motivate

FIRST LEGO League Explore 

  • Union Elementary -  Majestic Wings Co. took home the Complexity and Decoration Award

  • Rex-Rennert - Buffalo Builders took home Teamwork and Gracious Professionalism

  • Peterson Elementary - Roaring Robot Minis took home Teamwork and Effort and Learning

  • W.H. Knuckles - Legobotics took home Teamwork and Gracious Professionalism 

  • Southside-Ashpole Ponies 3 took home Against All Odds and Amazing Movement

  • Magnolia - Explorers took home Teamwork and Team Spirit

  • Rowland-Norment - Code-A-Saurs took home Inquiring Minds, Out of the Box, Teamwork, Robust Design, Team Spirit, Inquiring Minds

Coach Awards were given to the following robotics coaches:

  • Rex-Rennert Robotics Coach Jessica Cummings

  • L. Gilbert Carroll Middle School Robotics Coach Ziena Walker

  • Prospect Elementary School Robotics Coach Jeremiah Chavis

Additionally, Wasp 12-B  received the Volunteer Award. PSRC Science Supervisor Susan Miller-Hendrix won the Bright Futures Begin with STEM Award. 

“We are extremely proud of our students who took part in the first-ever Robeson Robotics Exhibition. Excitement was in the air as students showed off their innovative projects and competed in the exhibition. We are grateful for Mrs. Susan’s vision and for everyone who worked to make the event possible,” said PSRC Superintendent Dr. Freddie Williamson.

“Hopefully next year, we will have additional teams from our district and surrounding areas come and participate as we grow this event even further,” Miller-Hendrix said.