Seaside Neighborhood School is of ficially the “best” of the BEST.
A team of 80 middle school students from Seaside Neighborhood School ventured to the University of West Florida in Pensacola on Oct. 28 to compete for the Emerald Coast Hub in the 10th Annual BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) Robotics Competition.
Seaside Neighborhood School earned top honors with first place in the BEST Overall award, and took home four additional awards: first place, Spirit & Sportsmanship: first place, Interview & Team Exhibit; first place, Marketing Presentation and third place, Robotics Game.
“This program is an awesome way to include students with a variety of interest in a STEM activity, and I am so very proud of each one of them,” says Seaside Neighborhood School principal Kim Mixson.
Each competing team is evaluated on robot design, performance, aesthetic, team spirit, sportsmanship, marketing and presentation.
This year, the competition included nearly two dozen schools from five counties in the Emerald Coast region. The theme of this year’s competition was “crossfire” and focused on innovation in firefighting and fire safety. Teams had 42 days to build a robot, documenting the engineering process along the way.
BEST Robotics Inc. (BRI) is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization whose mission is to engage and excite students about engineering, science, and technology as well as inspire them to pursue careers in these fields.
Through participation in this project-based STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program, students learn to analyze and solve problems utilizing the Engineering Design Process, which helps them develop technological literacy skills. It is these skills that industry seeks in its workforce.
Shaking Things Up
Several Seaside Neighborhood School 5th through 8th grade students have been asked to “shake it up.”
The Amazing Shake program teaches students the nuances of professional interaction and best behavior, such as how to give a proper handshake, how to “work a room,” how to give a successful interview, and how to remain composed under pressure.
“The goal is to prepare our students so that they are able to present and position themselves in the best possible way for opportunities today as well as those that will come in the future,” Seaside Neighborhood School principal Kim Mixson says.
In September, students participated in The Great Seaside Shake. At this house event, small groups of students interviewed with community judges. After the interviews, they attended an ice cream social, where they were encouraged to mix and mingle with visitors and members of their house. They were encouraged to introduce themselves, carry a conversation, engage politely with peers and visitors and welcome incoming guests.
After the ice cream social, about a dozen students were selected to advance to the next round of The Great Seaside Shake. This included sharpening their skills in a mentoring class devoted to listening, public speaking and social skills.
The final round was held in December at Emeril’s Coastal Italian restaurant. Six students met with six community judges. Finalists Kegley Hubbard and Meril Lagasse will travel to Atlanta to represent Seaside at the National Amazing Shake in February at the Ron Clark Academy, whose mission is to deliver the highest quality educational experience through advanced rigor, engaging teaching methods and a passionate climate and culture.