Arkansas robotics team learns more than just programming and gears, heads to world championships

In Mrs. Jill Humpherys’s classroom, you will hear the whizzing and whirring of gears, getting ready for the Arkansas robotics state championships.
Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 11:14 AM CST
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EL DORADO, Ark. (KNOE) - In Mrs. Jill Humpherys’s classroom, you will hear the whizzing and whirring of gears getting ready for the Arkansas robotics state championships in Russellville, Arkansas.

Eighth grader Jackson Lee explained how it all works.

“Where it drives itself to get dispensers, and then they take those two scores,” said Lee.

When the timer starts, they have 60 seconds to get as many points as possible, and you hear the team get excited, directing the others on what to do.

But these students at Barton Junior High in El Dorado have been building something more.

While competition is important, real lessons are far more valuable.

“Perseverance is the main one, because whenever we change the robot at all, like today,” said seventh grader Ezekiel Stell. “They added pegs on their robot. It completely messed up their code. "

They have also learned something more, and some things that they will never forget. Seventh grader Bryce Taylor, the only one to go to the World Championships, says he will take what he learns for the future.

“So, I can use this later on in life so I can have this help me,” said Taylor

The team sponsor, Jill Humphreys, says she sees it daily. She has seen teams come and go and remembers watching each one change.

“Some of the kids, you know, had a little trouble with working with others, and I’ve seen tremendous growth in that, " said Humphreys. “And their level of calmness.”

During the competition, she said even gets excited.

“They kind of calm me down sometimes,” said Humphreys.

Everything starts with a pile of parts and an idea.

“And so, you just start with a bunch of pieces. And you have to take that and come up with what you saw today, " said Humphreys.

This is the eleventh year for Humphreys as a sponsor of the team, and she still gets the most out of the experience.

“Sometimes I just sit here, and I’m like, I’m pretty lucky, I’m pretty blessed to get to watch them, you know,” said Humphreys.

No matter what happens in Russellville, the teams, and the teacher, will come away winners.

On Thursday, March 9, 2023, the Barton Jr High robotics team earned their place to head to the World Championships.