Students from 36 high school teams in eight states competed for top honors during the 2010 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Bayou Regional competition held March 4-6 in New Orleans.
A combined team from Picayune High School and Pearl River High School in Picayune partnered with a team from Mandeville (La.) High School and a team from Tallahassee, Fla., to emerge as the tournament's alliance champion. All three teams played 10 qualifying matches, then survived three rounds of competition against other alliance partners.
In addition, Northshore High School in Slidell, La., walked away with the most prestigious of honors, earning the Regional Chairman's Award, which recognizes the team creating the best partnership effort and best exemplifying the true meaning of FIRST.
The FIRST competition is designed to encourage students to pursue engineering and technology careers. High school teams are given six weeks to build robots that can perform assigned tasks. They then compete in regional events across the country to earn a chance to go to the finals.
NASA and the John C. Stennis Space Center are strong supporters of FIRST Robotics and the Bayou Regional event through direct monetary support and the work of judges, volunteers and team mentors.
More than half of the 2009 Bayou Regional field hailed from Louisiana (16 teams) and Mississippi (nine teams). Participating schools included: (Louisiana) Central Community School System and Central High School in Central; Destrehan High School and St. Charles Parish Public Schools in Destrehan; Edna Karr High School in New Orleans; Fontainebleau High School in Mandeville; Hahnville High School in Boutte; Hammond High School in Hammond; Haynes Academy in Metairie; John Ehret High School in Marrero; Mandeville High School in Mandeville; McMain Secondary High School and Orleans Parish Public Schools in New Orleans; New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School and Lusher Charter School in New Orleans; Northshore High School in Slidell; St. Paul's High School in Covington; Sarah T. Reed Senior High School in New Orleans; Southwood High School in Shreveport; and Woodlawn High School in Baton Rouge; (Mississippi) Gulfport High School Technology Center in Gulfport; Hollandale School District in Hollandale; Holly Springs High School in Holly Springs; Horn Lake High School in Horn Lake; Petal School District in Petal; (combined team) Picayune High School in Picayune and Pearl River Central High School in Carriere; Provine High School in Jackson; St. Patrick Catholic High School in Biloxi; and St. Stanislaus College High School in Bay St. Louis.
Several of those schools made it past qualifying rounds to compete in the alliance portion of the weekend – (Louisiana) Destrehan High School and St. Charles Parish Public Schools in Destrehan; Edna Karr High School in New Orleans; Fontainebleau High School in Mandeville; Hammond High School in Hammond; Haynes Academy in Metairie; Mandeville High School in Mandeville; McMain Secondary High School and Orleans Parish Public Schools in New Orleans; Northshore High School in Slidell; St. Paul's High School in Covington; and Sarah T. Reed Senior High School in New Orleans; (Mississippi) Gulfport High School Technology Center in Gulfport; Holly Springs High School in Holly Springs; Horn Lake High School in Horn Lake; Petal School District in Petal; (combined team) Picayune High School in Picayune and Pearl River Central High School in Carriere; and St. Patrick Catholic High School in Biloxi.
Of those, six Louisiana teams (Destrehan, Fontainebleau, Hammond, Mandeville, McMain and St. Paul's high schools) and three Mississippi teams (Gulfport, Horn Lake and Picayune and Pearl River Central high schools) survived the quarterfinals, where eight three-team alliances engaged in best-of-three matches for overall honors. Fontainebleau, Hammond, Mandeville, McMain and (combined team) Picayune and Pearl River Central high schools advanced through the semifinals to compete in the finals.
Several Louisiana and Mississippi teams also garnered awards from their robotics work and their level of participation at the Bayou Regional event. They included:
Gulfport High School – Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers Entrepreneurship Award in recognition of a comprehensive business plan to scope, manage and achieve team objectives; and Web site Award for their student-designed, -built and -managed FIRST Web site.
Hammond High School – Motorola Quality Award for machine robustness in concept and fabrication.
Horn Lake High School – Rookie All-Star Award for exemplifying a young but strong partnership effort and implementing the mission of FIRST to inspire students to learn more about science and technology; and Highest Rookie Seeding Award for the team's standing at the end of the qualifying rounds.
Mandeville High School – Jack Kamen Imagery Award for attractiveness in engineering and outstanding visual aesthetic integration of machine and team appearance.
Northshore High School – Regional Chairman's Award; Delphi Egnineering Excellence Award for elegant and advantageous machine feature; Autodesk Excellence in Design Award for design development, communication and presentation; and Cooperation Award for demonstrating the ability to help opponents compete.
Picayune and Pearl River Central high schools – Chrysler Team Spirit Award for extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit.
St. Patrick Catholic High School – General Motors Industrial Design for an efficiently designed machine that effectively achieves the game challenge; and Underwriters Laboratories Industrial Safety Award for progressing beyond safety fundamentals by using innovative ways to eliminate or protect against hazards.
Woodlawn High School – Rookie Inspiration Award for outstanding effort as a FIRST team in community outreach and recruiting students to engineering.
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