Students from 49 high school teams in six states competed for top honors during the 2012 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Bayou Regional competition held March 15-17 in Kenner, La.
A team from David Thibodaux Career and Technical High School in Lafayette, La., teamed with a pair of teams from Texas to emerge as the tournament champion. All three teams played 10 qualifying matches, then survived three rounds of competition against other alliance partners.
A team representing Northshore High School and the St. Tammany School Board 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.
A member of the Northshore/St. Tammany team, Rachel Holladay, was named a Dean's List finalist. The Dean's List award recognizes students who have led their teams and communities to increased awareness of FIRST and its mission. Students are selected from each regional event as finalists for the 2012 award.
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, set for April 26-28 at the Edwards Jones Dome in St. Louis . NASA and the John C. Stennis Space Center are strong supporters of FIRST Robotics and the Bayou Regional event with team coaches, mentors, training, judges, referees, a machine shop and other volunteers .
More than half of the 2012 Bayou Regional field hailed from Louisiana (30 teams) and Mississippi (seven teams). Participating schools included: (Louisiana) Alexandria High School and Bolton High School in Alexandria; Benjamin Franklin High School in New Orleans; Catholic High School in Baton Rouge; Central Lafourche High School in Raceland; Destrehan High School and St. Charles Parish Public Schools in Destrehan; East Ascension High School in Gonzales; Episcopal High School in Baton Rouge; (combined team) Ovey Comeaux High School, Acadiana High School, Carencro High School and Early College Academy, all in Lafayette; Edna Karr High School in New Orleans; Fontainebleau High School in Mandeville; GEAR UP and Acadiana High School in Lafayette; Hahnville High School in Boutte; Hammond High School in Hammond; Haynes Academy in Metairie; International High School in New Orleans; Lake Area New Tech Early College High School in New Orleans; Mandeville High School in Mandeville; (combined team) New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School and Lusher Charter School, both in New Orleans; McMain Secondary High School and Orleans Parish Public Schools in New Orleans; (combined team) Northshore High School and St. Tammany Parish School Board in Slidell; Parkview Baptist School in Baton Rouge; St. Paul's High School in Covington; Sarah T. Reed Senior High School in New Orleans; Slidell High School in Slidell; Sulphur High School in Sulphur; David Thibodaux Career and Technical High School in Lafayette; Thomas Jefferson High School in Gretna; University High School in Baton Rouge; West Monroe High School in West Monroe; and Woodlawn High School in Baton Rouge. (Mississippi) Gulfport High School Technology Center in Gulfport; Horn Lake High School in Horn Lake; Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg; (combined team) Picayune High School in Picayune, Pearl River Central High School in Carriere and Mississippi School of the Arts in Brookhaven; St. Patrick Catholic High School in Biloxi; (combined team) Vicksburg-Warren Schools and St. Aloysius Catholic High School in Vicksburg; and West Harrison High School in Gulfport.
Several of those schools made it past qualifying rounds to compete in the quarterfinals of the alliance portion of the weekend – (Louisiana) Central Lafourche; David Thibodaux Career and Technical; Destrehan and St. Charles Parish Public Schools; East Ascension; (combined team) Ovey Comeaux, Acadiana, Carencro and Early College Academy; Fontainebleau; Hahnville; Mandeville; (combined team) Northshore and St. Tammany Parish School Board; Parkview Baptist; St. Paul's; Woodlawn; (Mississippi) (combined team) Picayune, Pearl River Central and Mississippi School of the Arts; St. Patrick Catholic; (combined team) Vicksburg-Warren Schools and St. Aloysius Catholic; and West Harrison.
Of those, five Louisiana teams (Central Lafourche, David Thibodaux Career and Technical; Destrehan and St. Charles Parish Public Schools; Mandeville; and St. Paul's) and one Mississippi team (combined - Picayune, Pearl River Central and Mississippi School of the Arts) advanced to the semifinals, where eight three-team alliances engaged in best-of-three matches for overall honors. David Thibodaux Career and Technical; St. Paul's; (combined) Picayune, Pearl River and Mississippi School of the Arts; and Mandeville high schools advanced to the finals.
Several Louisiana and Mississippi teams also garnered awards for their robotics work and level of participation at the Bayou Regional event. They included:
Central Lafourche High School – Rookie Inspiration Award for outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering and engineers, both within one's school and the community.
Gulfport High School – Jack Kamen Imagery Award for attractiveness in engineering and outstanding visual aesthetic integration of machine and team appearance.
Hammond High School – Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers Entrepreneurship Award in recognition of a comprehensive business plan to scope, manage and achieve team objectives; and Chrysler Team Spirit Award for extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit.
Mandeville High School – General Motors Industrial Design Award for form and function in efficient robot design.
(Combined team) Northshore High School and St. Tammany Parish School Board – Website Award for their student-designed, -built and -managed FIRST website.
(Combined) Picayune High School, Pearl River Central High School and Mississippi School of the Arts – Xerox Creativity Award for creative design in process, execution or strategy of play.
Sulphur High School – Coopertition Award for helping opponents compete.
(Combined team) Vicksburg-Warren Schools and St. Aloysius Catholic High School –Johnson & Johnson Gracious Professionalism Award for outstanding sportsmanship and gracious professionalism in the heat of competition, both on and off the playing field.
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