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Horizon robotics teams win state titles

Wall-E Robotics Team at Horizon Elementary School. CONTRIBUTED
Wall-E Robotics Team at Horizon Elementary School. CONTRIBUTED

Grossbusters Robotics Team at Horizon Elementary School. CONTRIBUTED
Grossbusters Robotics Team at Horizon Elementary School. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – Robotics teams from Horizon Elementary School ranked in top places at the Alabama FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Championship.

FIRST abbreviates ‘For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.’

In their first year, the Wall-E LEGO Alliance team of fifth-graders won both first place in robot design and second place in robot performance.

“The Wall-E team worked hard with their coach and mentor, Shawn Pethel, to create and run the robot,” robotics co-sponsor Beth Bero said. “Horizon is very proud of both of our winning teams.”

Wall-E team members are Hayden Cote, Joshua Escobar, David Hudson, Alex Overton, Evan Pethel, Hayden Purser, Gibson Purser, Carter Sewell, Jonah Shaver and Isaiah Terrell.

In describing their design to judges, the Wall-E team wrote that their robot “has a giant wall around it. It looks like a tank and has a thin arm and two pieces on it that are supposed to pick the plastic bag up. We have a second arm that can ram or push things.”

During their project, the Wall-E team learned that a tree provides habitat to many animals that help the environment. Team members decided to plant a tree on the Horizon campus as a way to avoid invasive plant species.

Grossbusters, the sixth-grade robotics team at Horizon, received the first place award for research presentation at the state competition. “Their coach Tommy Byers and mentor Jen Barrow worked with them twice a week, over fall break and on several weekends,” robotics co-sponsor Rebecca Ellis said.

“Grossbusters presented their project to Madison City Council. We are really proud of their dedication,” Ellis said.

Grossbusters team members are Kobe Baffield, Rylen Byers, Gavin Ellis, Boyd Emmons, Jacob Johnston, Hunter Lamps, Atlee Barrow, Ripley Truesdail, Lillian Zhu and Jaden Edwards.

FIRST, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, helps youth discover and develop a passion for science, engineering, technology and math. For more information, visit firstinalabama.org.

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