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19 teams from local and surrounding schools participated in the Challenger Learning Center of Eastern Kentucky’s annual FIRST LEGO Robotics competition. Viper Elementary School’s team advanced to state competition in the event.

On Saturday, Dec. 14, the Challenger Learning Center of Eastern Kentucky held the organization’s annual FIRST LEGO Robotics competition for local and surrounding students ages 9-14. CLCKY staff members said that the CLCKY has held the competition for eight years and that it grows each year.

Of the 19 teams that participated in Saturday’s competition, three schools were from Perry County, including Viper Elementary School, East Pery Elementary School and West Perry Elementary School. This year, said CLCKY staff member Jacqueline “Jackie” Caudill, the CLCKY is fortunate enough to have the opportunity to send the top seven teams to the state competition, which is a larger number than in previous years.

During the competition, Caudill said., the students compete in robot games where they program an autonomous robot, utilize problem solving and creativity, design robots and explain the process and use core values.

“This is a fabulous opportunity for kids in our area,” said Caudill. “It is innovation at it’s best. It gives them an opportunity to think out of the box and beyond what is normally in there every day. They get to learn skills that they’ll have for life.

“It’s just phenomenal what the kids take from this and where they can go,” said Caudill.

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The top seven teams advancing to the state competition are: the Viper Elementary StarLords (First Place Overall); the Harold Whitaker Avi8ers (Second Place Overall); the Flat Lick Elementary Cinco Bots (Third Place Overall); the Knox County Middle MindMasters (Fourth Place Overall); the Knox County Middle MasterMinds (Fifth Place Overall); the Knott County 4-H Communicators (Sixth Place Overall); and the Lynn Camp Elementary Wild City Shapers (Seventh Place Overall). Additionally, the Girdler Elementary Roarbots (Eighth Place Overall) and the Dewitt Elementary City Creekers (Ninth Place Overall) were named the state alternatives.

Other awards were given after the competition as well based on the four categories of the competition and by the judges’ discretion.

The Flat Lick Elementary Cinco Bots were awarded first place for the Robot Games category, while the Knox County Middle School MasterMinds placed second in it. The Harold Whitaker Avi8ers took first place in the Research category, and the Knox County Middle School MindMasters got second place in that field. In the Robot Design category, the Knox County Middle MasterMinds were named first place and the Dewitt Elementary City Creekers were named second place. The Viper Elementary StarLords received first place in the Core Values category, and the Knott County 4-H Communicators were named second place. The Knox County Middle School MindMasters received the Research Award, the Whitley County Middle School Colonel Bots received the Innovation Award, the Lynn Camp Elementary Wild City Shapers received the Discovery Award, the East Perry Elementary Robotics received the Rising Star Award and the Knott County 4-H Robo 6 received the Teamwork Award.

The state competition will be held at Northern Kentucky University on Feb. 1.

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