Heritage High School students won first place in Robotics: Urban Search and Rescue during the national SkillsUSA awards Friday night.
This was the third time recent graduate Savannah Bradburn has placed nationally, with silver and bronze medals the previous two years. Rising junior Landon Davis also was Bradburn’s partner for last year’s national third-place finish.
“Congratulations to the students for their outstanding engineering skills of building and operating a robot,” said Dr. Alisa Teffeteller, Blount County Schools’ director of career and technical education. “Their first-place award is well-deserved. The students demonstrated the outstanding guidance and instruction they received from their teacher, Sam Warwick.”
A Heritage High team has placed in the top three nationally since the school began competing in 2014, but this is the first gold medal.
For the challenge the students design, build and control a robot that must maneuver through a small model to find and remove blocks that simulate bombs. In addition to their performance on the course, the students are judged on an oral presentation and a manual they create that includes a complete parts list, technical drawings and repair instructions for their robot.
“We had a very smooth run, but we didn’t have the fastest time,” Davis said, but they scored well enough on the presentation and notebook to overcome that.
Davis served as the spotter, looking directly at the course, while Bradburn drove the robot based on the view she could see from its camera. During a point on the course Davis couldn’t see directly, Bradburn ran into some difficulty opening one of the mailboxes, which slowed them.
When the school’s name was called as the gold-medal winner during Friday night’s ceremony, Davis said, “Me and Savannah jumped up and hugged each other and hugged Mr. Warwick.”
Davis said they are proud to bring the first-place prize back for Heritage High School, Blount County Schools and the state of Tennessee.
“I’m really proud of our school,” he said.
During next year’s competition, he’ll move into the driver’s role and work with a new spotter.