Robotics Stars

Robotics Team Heading to World Championships After Award-Winning Performances
Posted on 04/11/2024
Robotics students and teacher

Robotics students working with their teacher

A team of MNPS high school students is the best in Tennessee and among the best in the world in robotics after two award-winning trips to regional competitions last month.

Now the Pioneers are heading to the FIRST Robotics World Championships next week in Houston, with NASA paying their registration costs.

The Pioneers are a group of 44 students from Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet High School, Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School, John Overton High School, and other schools in the Nashville area.

At the first regional competition in Searcy, Arkansas, they finished third out of 28 teams and won the Autonomous award, which celebrates consistent and reliable autonomous routines in which vehicles on pre-programmed paths successfully score points in the absence of a driver team’s control.

At the Buckeye regional competition in Cleveland, Ohio, the Pioneers placed eighth out of 55 teams and moved up in the rankings to become the top robotics team in the state while also ranking in the top 8% in both the United States and the world. They also won the prestigious Engineering Inspiration Award, given to those who successfully expand respect and appreciation of engineering throughout their community.

As a result, NASA will pay for each student’s registration at the world championships, which start April 17 in Houston.

Beyond the competitions, the students have served more than 11,000 people through more than 300 hours of community outreach, collaborating with several Nashville organizations. Robotics students in class

Dr. April Collins, a chemistry and computer science teacher at Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet High School, said the Pioneers’ journey was made possible by the support of STEM education nonprofit sponsor ADROIT, industry professionals, and college students who mentor the students in computer-aided design, coding, mechanical engineering, marketing, and outreach, along with the support of MLK teachers and administration.

“I am incredibly proud of our students and excited to witness their continued success as they represent our community on the global stage,” Collins said. “Not only have they actively engaged with the community and mentored younger students, but they have also demonstrated remarkable skills by designing, building, and programming the robot they are competing with.

“Their dedication, teamwork, and efforts are a testament to the power of STEM education and mentorship, serving as proof that when given opportunities to collaborate and apply their knowledge in creative ways, there are no limits to what they can achieve. Go Pioneers!”

Meet the Team, See the Robot

The Pioneers will be showcasing their robot this Friday, April 12, from 5 to 8 p.m. at their sendoff event at Casa Azafrán, 2195 Nolensville Pike.

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