Wilkes County middle and high school students participated in the robotics competitions hosted by Wilkes Community College instructors from the Applied Career Technologies division in the fall 2018 and spring 2019.

Wayne Shepherd, Director of Career and Technical Education and Safety for Wilkes County Schools, and Stacie Taylor, Chair of Applied Engineering Technologies for Wilkes Community College, organized the event as a way for students to demonstrate the skills learned in Advanced Manufacturing and in Technology, Engineering, and Design classes and to get a closer look at the robotics program offered by the college.

“This event is a fun way to get students excited about careers in engineering, robotics, mechatronics and advanced manufacturing as they participate in scenarios that require teamwork and problem-solving skills,” explained Taylor. “I was impressed with the modifications to the robots, the ingenuity and critical thinking shown by the students, and the level of teamwork. Students were helping students from other schools with robot adjustments and tools! Teamwork and cooperation are valuable skills that employers look for and frequently ask us about when hiring students.”

The competitions took place in the gymnasium in Randolph Hall on the Wilkes Campus, and included the following categories: Urban Search and Rescue for middle school students and Pre-Programed Autonomous Course and Robotic Bowling for high school students.

In the Urban Search and Rescue competition, students compete with robots they built prior to the competition. The contest requires students to remotely operate the robot programmed to locate, pick-up and move simulated ordnances on the course. This timed mission occurred on a course that simulates a residential area/neighborhood. Students were encouraged to customize their robots using 3D printed and machined parts.

The high school robotics competition was a pre-programmed autonomous course that students prepared prior to the event. Students had to navigate a course with specific start and end points and stay within pre-defined boundaries. The first-place team from each school continued on to a timed programming challenge where they had 30 minutes to program as a team for robot bowling. The object of the robot bowling competition was to knock down as many pins as possible while avoiding obstacles on the course. The team that knocked down the most with the best time was the overall winner.

Middle School Urban Search and Rescue Fall 2018 Competition

First Place Winners from each school:

West Wilkes Middle School – Andrew Barlow, Brady Cothern, Samuel Brooks

North Wilkes Middle School – Samuel Panneton, Nolan Stanley, Drew Winkler

East Wilkes Middle School – Hayden Durham, Easton Martin, Brody Martin, Cody Dowell

Wilkes Central Middle School– Campbell Elmore, Caleb Gregory, Derek Barlow, Kaelyn Swiggs, Megan Black

Middle School Urban Search and Rescue Spring 2019 Competition:

First Place – Central Wilkes Middle School: Ethan Chapman, Aaron Edwards, Mason Martin, and Max Kemp.

High School Robotics Fall 2018 Competition:

First place – North Wilkes High School: Colton Settle and Garrett Shumate.

High School Robotics Spring 2019 Competition:

First place – East Wilkes High School: Steven Richardson, instructor Derek Hill, Alex Rondin, Ivan Sierra, Kristina Johnson, Micha Vaughan, Jacob Harrleson, and Zachery Shinault.

Fall 2018 Urban Search and Rescue overall competition winners-Central Wilkes Middle School

L-R: Caleb Gregory, Derek Barlow, Megan Black, Campbell Elmore, and Kaelyn Swiggs.

Fall 2018 -Robotics competition first place winners-North Wilkes High School

Teacher, Ed Martin; students, Colton Settle and Garrett Shumate.

Spring 2019 Robotics Competition 1st place winners-East Wilkes High School

L-R: Steven Richardson, instructor, Derek Hill, Alex Rondin, Ivan Sierra, Kristina Johnson, Micha Vaughan, Jacob Harrleson, and Zachery Shinault.

Spring 2019 Urban Search and Rescue Competition 1st place winners – Central Wilkes Middle School

L-R: Ethan Chapman, Aaron Edwards, Mason Martin, and Max Kemp.