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Crockett TSA heads to nationals

Every year, Guy McAmis, drafting instructor at David Crockett High School, takes a handful of his students to compete in Vex Robotics competitions.
This year not only did DCHS students win the regional competition, they won first and second place in the state, too. Roger Raines, Aaron Hill, Ivan Vazquez, and Garrett Wright make up the two teams from DCHS.
The students all take McAmis’ advanced class where they focus all year on building a robot. The class is part of the Technical Student Association and the Vex Robotic Curriculum.
At the beginning of each school year McAmis helps his students design the robot. Once the students have a design for their robot, they begin the tedious project of constructing it while following strict guidelines provided by Vex.
Raines explained the construction process is, “a trial and error to get it exactly right.”
Once the students build the robots they must program them, Raines said, to listen to a remote control, which the students operate at the competition.
After everything is complete, the students practice operating their machine to pick up small plastic cylinders and spheres and place them in a container.
During competitions, teams are given two minutes to accumulate as many cylinders and spheres as possible.
The four students make up two teams: Raines and Hill on the junior team and Vazquez and Wright on the senior team.
The first round of competitions, regionals, was held at DCHS where the senior team took first place and the junior team took third place.
A few weeks later, the two teams traveled with McAmis to Chattanooga to compete in the state competition. The senior team won first place again while the junior team earned second place.
Through the process, the students have learned science and engineering principles, teamwork, leadership and problem solving among groups. They are now preparing to compete in the national competition, which will be held in Nashville in June. Students from all 50 states, and Germany will be competing for the title.
McAmis and the students are now sharpening their skills and making their robots perfect for the upcoming competition, but there is one thing holding them back — money. In order to compete the students have several registration fees, traveling, and lodging expenses. If you would like to help them go to competition call, DCHS at 753-1150.
With Vazquez and Wright graduating in May, both students say that the skills that McAmis and the Vex Competition have taught them will help further their education in college. Vazquez was recently accepted into the Mechanical Engineering Program at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
Wright also plans on studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Tennessee, but plans on studying at East Tennessee State University first for a year before transferring.