WELLSBURG — From programming robots to perform various tasks to creating videos within hours, members of the Brooke High School chapter of Technology Students of America have applied a variety of skills in competitions at the state, national and even international level, bringing back many awards.
Advised by Chris Mockbee, the club’s success story began at the state TSA competition in March, when three of its robotics teams took first, second and third place.
Placing first was Team C, comprised of Sam Mockbee, Christian Packer, Lucas Neel and Jeg Hilt, while Team B members Logan White, Nathan Anderson, Josh Stuckey and Angie Montesano placed second.
And Team A, made up of Noah Conaway, Jerri Wilson, Alex Maple, Liam Helt, Maddie DeGarmo and Josh Blair, placed third.
Team C also set a season record for the highest skills score among the event’s many competitors, earning them an invitation to the World VEX Robotics Championship held in May in Dallas, Texas.
The event is named for the company that produces the small robots the students build from scratch and program to perform a series of complex tasks.
It was the first time a team from the school competed in the event, which drew more than 800 students from North and South America, Europe and other countries, and they won five events.
Mockbee said Team C is slated to return to the Lone Star State, joined by Team B, to compete in the national TSA conference next week.
He said members of Team C had dubbed themselves Perfunctory, a word they picked up in English class that means putting forth as little effort as possible.
“But that’s really the complete opposite of them,” said Mockbee, who said the four sophomores set out to double the number of robotics trophies won by the school and did, capturing 10.
But he said all of the club’s members have worked hard this year.
Mockbee noted the club competed in 35 events at the state TSA event, which was a big feat because the pandemic had prevented them from competing for two years.
TSA competitions involve not only robotics but also other events that challenge students to apply a variety of skills they have learned in their Science Technology Engineering and Math oriented programs.
For example, White placed first at the state level in a public speaking contest in which participants were given a short time to prepare a presentation on a given topic.
And a team consisting of Greg Thorfinnson, Josh Stuckey, Josh Blair and Liam Helt placed second in another in which students were called upon to write, film and edit a one-minute video using certain words and specific props within a day.
Also winners at the state event were Josh Stuckey, who placed first for reciting the club’s creed; and Shaylea Keener, who placed second in the category of technical report writing.
Mockbee said the group holds fundraisers and solicits many local businesses for contributions to allow it to travel to such events and greatly appreciates the community’s support.