TIFTON — A group of students recently participated in a competition in Albany as the first robotics team for the Upward Bound program at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. The results were quite astounding.
The students competed at the FIRST PCH Procter & Gamble district qualifier. They received awards for District Event Winner, Highest Rookie Seed Award, and National Instruments Rookie Inspiration Award.
The team also competed at the District Qualifier at Columbus State University, where the ABAC students made it to the quarterfinals. The students are now going to compete at the FRC Peachtree State Championship in Emerson. Currently, the team is ranked 20th out of 85 teams in Georgia.
Upward Bound at ABAC is a federally funded pre-college program serving high school students from Atkinson, Ben Hill, Berrien, Colquitt, Cook, Irwin, Tift and Turner counties.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology) Robotics’ mission is to “inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication and leadership.”
Benjamin Vieth, associate director of the Classic Upward Bound program at ABAC, discovered the program when researching STEM projects for the Upward Bound students.
“I wanted an activity where my students could develop STEM skills while also boosting their confidence in their skills,” Vieth said. “We’ve only been doing robotics since January. We’ve had some early success despite being rookies.”