Students from 38 high school teams in seven states competed for top honors during the 2011 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Bayou Regional competition held March 17-19 in New Orleans.
An alliance of teams from Gulfport High School, St. Patrick Catholic High School in Biloxi and Woodlawn High School in Baton Rouge, La., emerged as the tournament 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.
St. Patrick Catholic High School also won the second-highest award, the Engineering Inspiration Award for outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering and engineers, both within their school as well as their community.
Two area students also were named Dean’s List finalists – Hannah Sorrell from Northshore High School and Nicolas Jones from Gulfport High School. The Dean’s List award was established this year to recognize students who have led their teams and communities to increased awareness of FIRST and its mission. Two students are selected from each regional event as finalists for the 2010 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.
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 2011 Bayou Regional field hailed from Louisiana (23 teams) and Mississippi (eight teams). Participating schools included: (Louisiana) Airline High School in Bossier City; Catholic High School in Baton Rouge; Destrehan High School and St. Charles Parish Public Schools in Destrehan; Central Community School System and Central High School in Central; Ovey Comeaux High School in Lafayette; Edna Karr High School in New Orleans; Fontainebleau High School in Mandeville; Grace King High School in Metairie; Hahnville High School in Boutte; 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; New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School in New Orleans; Northshore High School in Slidell; Parkview Baptist School in Baton Rouge; St. Paul’s High School in Covington; Sarah T. Reed Senior High School in New Orleans; Southwood High School in Shreveport; Sulphur High School in Sulphur; Thomas Jefferson High School in Gretna; West Monroe High School in West Monroe; and Woodlawn High School in Baton Rouge; (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, Pearl River Central High School in Carriere; Provine High School in Jackson; St. Patrick Catholic High School in Biloxi; and Vicksburg-Warren Schools in Vicksburg.
Several of those schools made it past qualifying rounds to compete in the quarterfinals of the alliance portion of the weekend – (Louisiana) Catholic High School in Baton Rouge; Destrehan High School and St. Charles Parish Public Schools in Destrehan; Edna Karr High School in New Orleans; Hahnville High School in Hahnville; Hammond High School in Hammond; Haynes Academy in Metairie; Mandeville High School in Mandeville; Northshore High School in Slidell; Ovey Comeaux High School in Lafayette; Parkview Baptist School in Baton Rouge; St. Paul’s High School in Covington; Sulphur High School in Sulphur; 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; Petal School District in Petal; (combined team) Picayune High School in Picayune and Pearl River Central High School in Carriere; St. Patrick Catholic High School in Biloxi; and Vicksburg-Warren Schools in Vicksburg.
Of those, six Louisiana teams (Ovey Comeaux, Destrehan, Edna Karr, Northshore, St. Paul’s and Woodlawn high schools) and six Mississippi teams (Gulfport, Horn Lake, Petal, Picayune and Pearl River Central, St. Patrick’s and Vicksburg-Warren high schools) advanced to the semifinals, where eight three-team alliances engaged in best-of-three matches for overall honors. Ovey Comeaux, Gulfport, St. Patrick’s, Vicksburg-Warren and Woodlawn high schools advanced advanced to 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:
Catholic High School – Rookie Inspiration Award for outstanding effort as a FIRST team in community outreach and recruiting students to engineering.
Gulfport High School – Motorola Quality Award for machine robustness in concept and fabrication.
Hammond High School – Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers Entrepreneurship Award in recognition of a comprehensive business plan to scope, manage and achieve team objectives.
Horn Lake High School – Chrysler Team Spirit Award for extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit.
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; Johnson & Johnson Gracious Professionalism Award for outstanding sportsmanship and gracious professionalism in the heat of competition, both on and off the playing field; and Website Award for their student-designed, -built and -managed FIRST Web site.
Ovey Comeaux 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.
Parkview Baptist School – Highest Rookie Seeding Award for the team’s standing at the end of the qualifying rounds.
St. Patrick Catholic High School – Engineering Inspiration Award; and Autodesk Excellence in Design Award for clear and compelling evidence of excellence in design development, documentation, communication and presentation.
Vicksburg-Warren – Delphi Engineering Excellence Award for elegant and advantageous machine feature; and Underwriters Laboratories Industrial Safety Award for progressing beyond safety fundamentals by using innovative ways to eliminate or protect against hazards.
Woodlawn High School – Judges’ Award in recognition of unique effort, performance and dynamics.
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Rebecca Strecker, NASA News Chief
NASA Public Affairs Office
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-6000