Northside FIRST teams get to shine | News | The Press and Standard

by | January 28, 2016 5:00 am

Last Updated: January 31, 2016 at 10:28 pm

Perseverance paid off for the members of Northside Elementary School’s Eliminators and Trash Fighters last weekend.

Both teams brought back honors from Saturday’s FIRST Lego League Robotics regional competition at Fort Johnson Middle School on James Island.

Earlier in the month, the two teams had to bow out of the regional competition at Colleton County Middle School because their school was closed down as officials dealt with an outbreak of mold.

School officials began making plans to ensure the two FIRST (For Inspiration of Recognition in Science and Technology) teams would get a chance to advance to the state finals.

For two weeks, the Northside Elementary team members got together at Colleton County Middle School to put their projects back together.

FIRST Director Ed Williams said the Northside students were shuttled to the middle school each day, arriving “ready to go.”

“They had lost everything but the programs on their robots,” Williams said. “They had to rebuild from the ground up and they had two weeks to do it.”

Northside’s adult coaches Melissa Evans and Karen Corbett got assistance in guiding the resurrection of the FIRST entrants from Williams and Colleton County High School teacher Dennis Thomas, who had acted as one of the middle school’s coaches.

The students’ hard work paid off. The Trash Fighters finished second in the regional tournament, a feat that included a first place in the Core Values competition.

Northside’s other team, the Trash Eliminators, received the regional qualifier’s Against All Odds trophy “for their endurance in coming back the way they did,” Williams said.

Both teams, Williams added, “stood up to the challenge.”

Now the Northside Elementary Trash Fighters, the Microbots from Cottageville Elementary and the Bellbots from Bells Elementary move on to the state competition on Feb. 13 in Myrtle Beach.

Williams said he wanted to thank the members of the Colleton County School District administration, all the sponsors and all the people who contributed to the robotics team, as well as the Education Oversight Committee of the South Carolina Department of Education, which provided the grant needed to expand the FIRST program district-wide.

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