by Lauralee Kalinec
Each year, over 11,000 students from over 750 schools all over the United States come together to play a game in the BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology) Robotics Competition.
This game has a new theme, new field, new components, and a new set of rules every year.
To play, teams are given a set of raw materials and tasked with building a robot that can compete. They have to do this in just six weeks.
At the end of the build period, the teams travel to area hubs to compete.
On Saturday, October 13, the Lee/STEM BEST robotics team competed in the SABEST Competition at St. Mary’s University.
METROS Space Cadets, as the Lee team is calling themselves this year, held first place throughout the majority of the seeding rounds with an average score of 13.2 points per match.
After placing 2nd in the semifinals, METROS Space Cadets went on to win first place in the finals, scoring 35 point cumulative over the second place score of 26.
The Lee High School BEST Robotics Team after the SABEST competition.
In addition to the robotics competition, BEST also has an overall competition that incorporates many different aspects.
In the BEST Award competition, teams are scored on their booth design and interview, project engineering notebook, formal marketing presentation, spirit and sportsmanship, in addition to how well their robot does in the actual robot competition.
This year the METROS also won the 2nd place BEST award.This is a great accomplishment in and of itself, but when the team saw their scores for the BEST Award competition it was made even greater.
The Lee High School Robotics team scored 93.83 points (out of 100), 4.36 points more than the second place team, and missing 1st place by only 0.42 points.
Senior Marissa Keller, a member of the team, said, “I was a little upset that we lost by 0.42 points, but now we know how close we were, and it makes us want to push ourselves to get an even better score at state.”
Seniors Joshua Orth, Lauralee Kalinec, and Benjamin Munoz each received $1000 scholarships for their team’s success.
The winning team in the robotics competition is awarded three $1000 scholarships, from AFCEA, to give to three graduating seniors on the their team that worked on the robot.
As the Lee team won 1st place, they received these scholarships and voted to give them to Joshua Orth, Benjamin Munoz, and Lauralee Kalinec. “We chose them because they deserved it. They’ve been on the team for three years and they’re still completely dedicated,” as senior Jordan Hill-Ross commented.
Senior Issac Irlas receiving a $50,000 scholarship to St. Mary’s University.
One senior on the 1st place team is also awarded a $50,000 scholarship to St. Mary’s University. Issac Irlas, third year team member and programmer, was chosen to receive this amazing opportunity.
He was selected by the team to get this award because, as the entire team agrees, “we wouldn’t have done as well as we did if we didn’t have such good programming. We’re lucky to have Issac as our programmer.”
Even more the team also won the prestigious Founder’s Award. This award is given to the team that the judges feel best exemplifies the concepts and creativity and qualities the BEST founder’s had in mind when they created the competition.
Over all, the team did extremely well at San Antonio BEST and are planning on doing even better at the Texas BEST Regional Competition, November 9-10. If you see them in the hallways, be sure to tell them congratulations and wish them luck at state.