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Robotics team to compete Saturday

Hartselle Junior High School’s Robotics Team is putting the finishing touches to its engineering and marketing plans this week in preparation for local competition at Wallace State Community College Oct. 30 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sixteen teams from North Alabama are entered in the competition. In addition to HJHS, they are: Arab High, Coosa Christian, Blountsville Middle, Marshall Technical, Susan Moore Middle, Holly Pond High, J.B. Pennington High, Fairview Middle, Cullman Christian, Locust Fork High, Weaver High, Cold Springs High and Good Hope High.
Top winners will go on to compete for regional honors at Auburn University in November.
The theme of this year’s competition is “Total Recall.” The mission’s objective is to have the robot determine which products are defective or not and then successfully package only non-defective products.
“The competition attracted more entries this year,” Elisa Harris, faculty sponsor, said.
“That’s why we’re going to Wallace State instead of Athens State University. The team has worked hard getting ready for competition since our kick-off meeting at Wallace State Sept. 19. The main focus has been on improving our marketing booth and technical  know-how.”
“We have a lot of new people in the team this year but it will help to have some back who were involved last year. Our goal is to capture the cones because they’re worth more points,” CEO Johnston McCutcheon said.
“I think working on the project is going to help me later on,” said Lauren Speer, a seventh grader and first year team member. “I’ve learned how to work with others in pursuit of a team goal.”
The robotics team consists of 60 seventh and eighth graders.
Team leaders, in addition to McCutcheon and Speer, who is vice president of marketing, are Brad Gentle, vice president of engineering, Claire Forsythe, engineering notebook, and Ivy Buchanan, construction. Adult mentors who have helped in the areas of engineering and computer programming are Mike Baker, Mark Ebeling, Patrick Blair and Greg Roden.
Sponsors are Bunge, Premier System Integrators and Michael McCutcheon DMD, Gold Level donors, Qual Tech N.P., Silver Level donor, and Corum Building Supplies.
This is the second year HJHS has fielded a robotics competition, In 2009, the team claimed five major awards: Overall BEST Award”, Best Spirit and Sportsmanship, Best Project engineering Workbook, Best Oral presentation, and Most Robust Robot.
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