Cordova Robotics Team wins top award at competition

Posted 11/7/19

The Cordova Robotics Team is heading to a regional competition for the fourth straight year.

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Cordova Robotics Team wins top award at competition


The Cordova Robotics Team is heading to a regional competition for the fourth straight year.

On Oct. 26, the team competed at the BEST (Boosting Engineering Science & Technology) Robotics Competition held on Bevill State Community College's Fayette campus and came away with the overall BEST Award.

In addition to bringing home the competition's top award, Cordova's robotics team won the Sponsor Award and placed first for spirit and sportsmanship, engineering workbook and website design; second place for team exhibit; and fourth place for their robot.    

Known as Cordova CHAOS, the robotics team is comprised of over 20 Bankhead Middle and Cordova High School students.

Sponsor Amber Parsons explained that each year BEST Robotics teams are given six weeks to build a robot using materials like PVC pipes, plywood, sheet metal and plastics that are provided to them for free. This year's theme was "off the grid," which tasked robotics teams around the country with building a robot that could help restore the power grid.

"In that six weeks, they design and build their robot, they design their website, they create their commercial, they design and build their marketing booth and decorate it, they prepare for a marketing interview, and do an engineering notebook," Parsons said.

All facets of creativity are then judged at BEST Robotics competitions.   

Cordova's robotics team will now go on to compete in Auburn at the South's BEST competition, which will bring 64 teams from five states to showcase their robotics skills.

The Cordova Robotics Team has competed with BEST for the past eight years and this will be the team's fourth trip to the regional competition. 

Kyli Blagburn, who serves as CEO of Cordova CHAOS, has been on the team since it started when she was in the fifth-grade. She is now a senior.

"When I first joined robotics I was super awkward, didn't like talking to people, and I just didn't want to be messed with, but now I'll just pretty much talk to anybody, even if I don't know them," Blagburn said. "It's made me a lot less awkward, and I'm hoping that other people will feel less awkward going through robotics. I know it's helped a lot of our younger kids make friends."

Blagburn said she couldn't be happier about the team's accomplishments and that being on the robotics team has inspired her to have a career in science, perhaps studying forensic or neuroscience. 

Cordova senior Ethan Pickett is also part of the robotics team as director of engineering.

"I've been wanting to become an engineer and this kind of helped me narrow down what I want to become."

Younger team member Kaleb Howell may only be in eighth-grade but he, too, is involved in robotics to prepare him for a future career in science. His goal is to be an aerospace engineer.  

"A lot of people don't realize how important these things will be in the future," Howell said of robotics and technology, "and it's coming quicker than a lot of people know, too."

Parsons said she enjoys watching students enhance their skillsets and be inspired to have careers in science or technology as a result of being on the robotics team.

Last year, Cordova's robotics commercial placed in the top 10 at the regional level, and team members hope to bring home another top 10 finish this year.  

"I love that when these kids are at South's BEST, they treat them as if they are rockstars," Parsons said. "They have the light shows, the music, the smoke machine. It is a weekend that is all about celebrating them and their successes."