WINNSBORO — In its first ever competition, the Fairfield Central Griffin Robotics Team placed 14th out of 67 teams and won the “Rookie Award” as the competition’s top-ranked first-year contender.
The regional tournament was held in Myrtle Beach this past weekend and the final day of competition was March 1.
Fairfield Central’s squad — Team 5327 — competed in all nine matches and finished with a 6-3 record, which included no disqualifications.
Team 5327 wrote a grant through NASA to fund the Robotics program.
Fairfield Central finished higher than any other Midlands school and Superintendent J.R. Green was elated to spread the news.
“We were really competitive in our first year,” he noted. “I’m so very proud of these students and how they just jumped right into the competition.”
At one time, Team 5327 ranked as high as sixth.
Building their robot from scratch, Team 5327 is made up of nearly 30 members. Despite the recent snow days that held them from preparing, the team did their best to convince Green to allow them to still attend school to prepare for the Myrtle Beach competition.
“Although we could not allow them to come to school in those conditions, I appreciate their enthusiasm and there commitment to win,” Green said.
According to Green, the success of the robotics team’s first attempt shows the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum’s affect on student’s development.
Green also announced the selection of Rick Stottlemyer as the project manager for the building’s construction. The center is currently in the final stages of the design phase.
Green is hopeful they will break ground by May, with the construction being completed in time for the Fall 2015 semester. The district is currently soliciting bids for the project.
Green said he was pleased with the strides made in the early college academy program. Last year 51 students applied, with 23 being accepted. This year the applicant number jumped to 73.
The early college academy program allows high school students to work their way through a rigorous curriculum to graduate with a two-years associate’s degree.
Fourteen seventh-graders qualified to take either the ACT or SAT based on their sixth grade pass assessment in the 95 percentile.
Green believes taking those standardized tests is part of a student’s development to improve their scores through the experience and the hope is that by the time those seventh graders take the tests as a senior, they will record scores upwards of 30 on the ACT.
Two of the district’s arts programs were recently awarded half of their funding to attend field trips. The Fairfield Middle School chorus has been invited to the Disney Sings-Young Performers Edition for the second year in a row.
Fairfield Central High School’s drama class will travel to New York for the Broadway Student Summit.