Mount Olive’s Grace Christian School Geek Tech robotics team made a mark during the First Lego League Red Carpet Regional Qualifier held December 19 in Vicksburg. The event was the group’s first robotics competition—rookies vying for honors among 25 seasoned teams. The event, held in the Warren Central High School gymnasium, opened with the Project and Core Values presentations that are hallmarks of these competitions. Geek Tech was one of 25 teams representing the North Mississippi district, with the top five teams advancing.
They were coached by veterans of Purple Thunder, the Mount Olive Minis-tries High School robotics team that has garnered numerous regional and national honors. The League encourages this type of coaching from seasoned students. The coaches, Tremaine Easterling and Alexis Drake, worked hard to bring their rookie team into competitive status, and their efforts did not go unnoticed by League leaders. Darius Speight was the Geek Tech leader.
There were three rounds of robot competition. Geek Tech placed third in the first competition and felt confident going into round two. The second round was not as successful when the robot malfunctioned, and the team was not allowed to restart, although the rules provide for a restart in such circumstances. They dropped to 16th place after the flawed round.
During the final round, Purple Thunder, parents, friends, and members of Geek Tech watched quietly and nervously hoping for a miraculous final round. Geek Tech delivered. After Geek Tech’s final round, and points were calculated, the rookie team was moved to fifth place with six teams to compete. Once all teams had competed and points were calculated, Geek Tech placed eighth overall. Not bad for rookies in competition with 24 seasoned teams.
Purple Thunder stood upon its feet in unity to salute Geek Tech for a job well done. The First Lego League consists of three parts: the Robot Game, the Project, and the Core Values. Teams can have up to ten members on each team, with at least one adult coach.
Geek Tech has seven members: Quentavious Gray, Timothy Gray, Quandarious Hubbard, Zahria Sansom, Darrius Speight (leader), De’ja Walker, and Joseph Walker. Coaches: Purple Thunder—Tremaine Easterling and Alexis Drake.