COVINGTON, Ga. - Liberty Middle School’s Robotics Team 10615B secured an invitation to the 2019 VEX IQ World Championships after a stellar performance this past weekend.
Liberty paired up with a team from Vickery Creek Middle School in Forsyth County to finish second in the Teamwork Finals. The team will now set their sights on the World Championships, which will be held in Louisville, Kentucky on April 28-30th.
Liberty Middle School’s qualifying team, comprised of students Dylan Smalls and Adam Brown, were tied as the number three seed after a day of qualifying rounds in this year’s VEX IQ game, Next Level. In the Teamwork portion of the competition, student-designed robots work with a partner by scoring and stacking colored hubs in building zones, removing bonus hubs from the field’s hanging structure, and by parking or hanging on the field’s hanging bar. Liberty’s performance during the qualification rounds paired them with their finals partner from Vickery Creek and the two teams worked together to score 30 points in the finals match—just two points behind the first place team.
Dr. Raymont Burke, Liberty’s robotics coach and Engineering teacher, said, “I’m extremely proud of this year’s group who set out to continue the legacy that has been built in the program. They took our team slogan of ‘Perfect Practices Produce Perfect Performance’ and dominated tournaments throughout the season as they kept their eyes on the prize. I’m looking forward to great things from this team and future teams of Liberty Knights!”
While Liberty took home the hardware from the middle school state championship, robotics teams from across Newton County School System were shining examples of success at the state level during the championship events held over the last few weeks. The school system held nearly a third of the VEX IQ state championship tournament spots with 16 of the 40 elementary teams in the tournament and 9 of the 39 middle school teams that were there. Mansfield Elementary School’s Team 10457A made it to the finals of the elementary division, finishing 4th in their championship. Liberty had two teams in the middle school finals, with their second team finishing in sixth place. Additionally, Alcovy High School had two teams qualify for the high school state championship where they had a good showing against some tough competition.
In order to qualify for the state championships, teams had to perform well in local competitions and/or post a high enough skills score to gain an invite. The schools representing NCSS in the state tournaments were: Rocky Plains Elementary, Mansfield Elementary, Middle Ridge Elementar, Newton County Theme School (Elementary and Middle), Flint Hill Elementary, Oak Hill Elementary, Fairview Elementary, Cousins Middle, Liberty Middle, and Alcovy High.
Tim Schmitt, NCSS director of CTAE & workforce innovation, said, “Students participating in VEX Robotics consistently exhibit high levels of enthusiasm, teamwork, and a true passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. I’m blown away by the growth of the program in Newton County since we started participating in 2014 and I am thrilled with the commitment shown by our participating teachers and students!”
Liberty’s World Qualifying team will join eight other middle school teams from Georgia to compete at the World Championships. This event is truly an international one, where students will have a chance to compete with and against others from all over the United States as well as teams from China, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Finland, Chile, Turkey, and more from all across the globe. In fact, there are over 35 countries from six different continents represented at the event.
As Liberty prepares for their trip to the World Championship, they are seeking donations and sponsorships to help offset the cost of the trip as well as new parts for their robots. The team has estimated they will need approximately $4,000 each to fully fund this exciting endeavor.
Anyone interested in sponsoring the team should contact Dr. Raymont Burke at Liberty Middle School, or Dr. Tim Schmitt, at the Board of Education.