It takes hard work and dedication even to graduate high school. Even more so to be an honor graduate. But to be the best of the best? That’s really saying something. Back on April 24-26, 2013, Mount Olive Ministries’ Robotic Team (Team Purple Thunder) competed in the World Robotic Competition in St. Louis, MO at the Edward Jones Dome. Out of 128 total FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) teams at World representing 14 different countries, Team Purple Thunder (#5963 from Mt. Olive, MS) wowed the judges all week and were the highest ranked rookies (13th) in the Franklin Division,” according to Mannie Lowe, FTC Program Manager/Center for Mathematics and Science Education at the University of Mississippi.
Team Purple Thunder set a rookie record by ranking as high as fourth place in its first year competing. As of today, the team is still setting records. Five of the twelve team members are graduating this year (2015/16) with honors, high honors, salutatorian, and valedictorian. Four have already graduated (2013/14 & 2014/15) in the top five with one of the four graduating valedictorian. The final three will be graduating year 2016/17.
Educators and industry leaders in the past decade or so have placed a lot of emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering & mathematics) careers. Reams of reports have been printed about the number of jobs available in these fields and the legions of American students who are graduating unprepared to fill them. The media has used a lot of ink publicizing the fact that poor communities are terribly underrepresented. Mount Olive Ministries’ Robotic/STEM Program is giving voice to the void of academic excellent by making STEM education available to the surrounding four counties.
All five graduates (representing Covington, Jefferson Davis, and Simpson Counties) have been accepted into
Mississippi State University, University of Mississippi, and Jones County Junior College to pursue careers in the field of engineering.
We congratulate all of our students for their academic success.