Over 220 elementary, middle, and high school teams from public and private schools and homeschool and afterschool organizations registered for the 2016-2017 Regional Autonomous Robotics Circuit (RARC) Competition 1 on Saturday, Nov. 5 at the Bossier Civic Center.
RARC, a series of three cyber and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) competitions for students in grades 3-12, is now in its sixth year. This year’s RARC theme is Powering the Future and challenges students to learn about renewable and non-renewable resources and then program their robot to autonomously accomplish several tasks on a large, colorful mat representing a newly discovered island.
Throughout Competition I, teams accumulated points based on their performance and were ranked accordingly. In the elementary division, South Highlands 2 emerged as the first place winner followed by South Highlands 1 in second place and Summer Grove 3 in third place. In the middle school division, Donnie Bickham 12 earned first place while Greenacres 2 and Elm Grove 4 took second and third place, respectively. The first, second, and third place winners of the high school division were C.E. Byrd 2, Benton 1, and Plain Dealing 2, respectively.
“Our community and our nation have placed a great emphasis on STEM education as a means to prepare the students of today for the workforce of tomorrow,” commented Kevin Nolten, Director of Academic Outreach for the Cyber Innovation Center. He added, “RARC is a community lead effort that reinforces the STEM and cyber fundamentals taught in the classroom and provides students an arena to not only showcase that knowledge but to further their exposure to real-world STEM and cyber applications.”
Hosted at the Bossier Civic Center, this community-wide event included a STEM demonstration by Benton High School teacher Marvin Nelson and alum Chris Conway on building an alternate energy car that was entered in a national competition as well as a presentation by Bossier Parish Libraries representatives about the many hands-on STEM activities available to library visitors.
“I am proud that our community has cyber and STEM-focused learning opportunities like RARC and the programs offered through Bossier Parish Libraries so our young people can prepare to be the innovators of tomorrow,” commented Mayor Lo Walker.
RARC is sponsored by the Cyber Innovation Center’s National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC), Bossier Parish Schools, the City of Bossier City, Sci-Port Discovery Center, and Caddo Parish Schools.