Rector LEGO Team Competes at Regionals

Thursday, December 8, 2016
Members of the Rector LEGO team are, from left: Front -- Evan Holmes, Ethan Simmons, Emma Holmes, Carter Hill, Drew Henderson and Austin Simmons. Back -- Coach Lance Mabrey, Kayeleigh Steward, Kaley Isom, Landon Haywood, Jackson Hill and Coach Christin Holmes. (photo provided)

The Rector LEGO Team competed in the Regional Qualifier in Searcy this past weekend and brought home top honors. There were 24 teams competing in four areas of competition, including project presentation, core values, robot design and robot mission game. For the project presentation, the team wrote and performed a skit in the form of an infomercial. Afterward, the judges asked questions concerning research and results. During the core values, the team was asked to complete a task. Judges then looked for how teamwork and respect for each team member is displayed. With the robot design, the team must present how they programmed the robot, how the attachments work, and the strategy. During the robot mission game, the team must use the robot to perform different missions to accumulate as many points as possible in two and a half minutes.

This year's challenge was called "Animal Allies", where each team had to find a way to make interactions between humans and animals better. The Rector team chose to create a "D-Larm", which is an alarm using lasers and mirrors to keep deer from eating plants in fields and gardens. Whenever a deer crosses the perimeter and walks into the laser, a high-pitched siren goes off that only the deer can hear, causing the deer to back away. By using the lasers, mirrors and alarms, no deer or other animals are hurt in any way.

The many hours of work and preparation paid off, as the team won the Champions Award, which goes to the overall champion of the event. This award is the highest honor a team can earn in the First LEGO League competitions. By winning the Champions Award, the team also qualifies to compete in the state LEGO tournament set for Jan. 20 and 21, at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

Team members are Evan Holmes, Ethan Simmons, Emma Holmes, Carter Hill, Drew Henderson, Austin Simmons, Kayeleigh Steward, Kaley Isom, Landon Haywood, and Jackson Hill. The team is coached by Lance Mabrey and Christen Holmes, and is greatly helped by Heather Simmons.

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