By LYNN SHIGEKAWA
Five teams totaling 23 students from Alvin ISD competed at the 2017 SeaPerch National Competition in Atlanta, GA. Students designed and built underwater Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs) that needed to move quickly through an obstacle course and complete a special challenge that involves manipulating objects underwater.
The Aqua Tigers from Nolan Ryan Junior High, The Great Whites from Glenn York Elementary, N3 from Alvin High School, and Wilder Elementary’s two teams The Shift Sharks and V-Liopleurodons competed against the best in the nation and earned high-ranking positions.
Alvin ISD students spent a majority of the school year working, testing, and qualifying at regional events to prepare for this opportunity to show off their engineering accomplishments.
SeaPerch Engineering competition also includes completing an Engineering Journal that demonstrates how the engineering design process was used to develop their ROVs. Wilder Elementary team, The Shift Sharks, earned a third place trophy in the Engineering Journal Middle School Category for their detailed and well communicated work.
Every team’s Engineering Journal is judged before the competition and is used to qualify just 10 teams for the Interview Category. A panel of engineers and Office of Naval Research representatives ask student questions about their ROV design, testing, and quantified justifications for decisions. From this category, the Glenn York Elementary team, The Great Whites earned the 3rd place trophy and the Wilder Elementary team; V-Liopleurodons earned the 2nd place trophy in the Middle School Category.
The Glenn York Elementary team, The Great Whites also won a 3rd place trophy in the Finesse Challenge for the Middle School Category. With high scores in all categories, The Great Whites were named as the 2nd place Overall Champions in the Middle School Category. This feat is even more impressive since the middle school category has students up to 8th grade and The Great White team members are in 4th and 5th grade.
When asked about their accomplishments The Great Whites team members Will Atkinson, Macin Bennetts, and Naaman Roberts described the moment as a surprise and shocking.
Roman Forestt from the Great Whites team talked about his favorite part of the SeaPerch National Competition: “The whole experience is great! Traveling to Atlanta, competing in the pool, interviewing with the judges, and winning second place over was amazing.”
A special commendation titled “The Constantly Improving Award” elects a team that has persevered and shown resilience through difficult experience, was given to the Nolan Ryan Junior High team, The Aqua Tigers. Receiving this recognition comes with the opportunity to enter into one of several other engineering competitions offered by RoboNation, a sponsor of SeaPerch.
Alvin ISD teams were strong competitors among almost 200 teams from across the nation as well as several international teams. Alvin ISD SeaPerch program ends its fourth year on a very high note.