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The Clariden School of Southlake is advancing to regionals at this year’s BEST (Boosting Engineering Science and Technology) Robotics Competition sponsored by Lockheed Martin.  Clariden won 1st place in the BEST Award, the most coveted award, at last weekend’s Cowtown competition held at Haltom High School. 

Competing against nineteen other private and public schools, Clariden placed 1st in overall performance. This is the third year the school has competed in BEST. Each year a new BEST challenge is revealed to teams of students who have only 45 days to build a robot using specific materials given to them.  Teams can choose whether or not to compete in every aspect of the competition or just the robotic portion. While some schools concentrated on one category, Clariden chose to compete in all aspects of the competition.  

 “Being that we are a school that specializes in Project Based Learning, the BEST competition aligns well with our curriculum. We find that our students benefit greatly from all elements of the competition as it emulates real-life project work,” states, Sallie Wells, Head of School. 

Clariden faced some challenges during last weekend’s competition. During one round, a piece of the robot broke and students had to scramble to put things back together. Despite the fact that their robot did not make it all the way to the final game round, they were still able to pull out a solid 1st place win due to their work in all categories.  Criteria for judging includes oral presentation, educational display, project engineering notebook, spirit and sportsmanship, student interviews and robot performance. 

“I like that we were still able to excel in other areas like the marketing booth. It wasn’t all about the robot.  There were other things that were just as important,” says Aidan Hinton, an 11th grade student at Clariden.  His teammates agreed.

 “I never thought I would say this,” says Skyler Wicke, a 9th grade student at Clariden, “but I love robotics.”  Wicke was part of the documentation team and a driver for the Clariden robot. She and six other students wrote the engineering handbook for the competition. 

Wells smiles when she hears students say things like that. “That is exactly why we do these kinds of projects. We expose students to things they might not do otherwise,” she states.

The BEST competition is the brain-child of a non-profit organization dedicated to inspire and expose middle and high school students to pursue careers in science, technology and engineering.  What started in Dallas in 1993, has grown in numbers steadily into 32 Hubs and 3 regions of competition. Over fifteen hubs from the Southwest will compete at the regional competition held at UT Dallas on November 14th and 15th.      

There is no charge for students or schools to participate. All funds are donated by universities and corporations, including Lockheed Martin, a major sponsor.

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