At the creative problem-solving competition, teams present solution to a long-term problem in one of five categories-- Vehicle, Technical, Classics, Balsa Wood (structural), and Performance-based. They are also given a “Spontaneous” problem at competition that they solve on the spot, which tests the students’ quick thinking in problem solving.
“These are incredibly difficult problems for most adults, but these middle and high school teams have worked collaboratively since September to solve these long term problems. We are so proud of their persistence and their dignity in solving the problem without any outside assistance,” said Co-Coach Kimsey Hodge. “Our teams showed a real strength in the Spontaneous section-- taking first place in Spontaneous in all but one problem.”
In the Classics problem, Scholars Academy (division II) took first place, defeating Stratford Academy by 87.31 points (out of a possible 350 points). Team members Anna Myhre, Rosalie Millere, Ella Millere, Jackson Hodge, Reid Harbin, and Clara Clifton said each member worked more than 400 hours each over the past five months to solve their problem.
“I’m proud of how we worked together. We had a lot of conflicts but tried to push through them and achieve greatness,” said 7th grader Anna Myhre. “After I work as hard as I can and push myself to my absolute limit, once I step back and see what I have done, I am not just happy, but proud.”
In the Technical problem, teams had to create an “Odd-A-Bot” that performed four different movements, and each movement had to perform two different activities. For instance, the middle school team created a mechanical dog (made from a mop bucket) that could wag its tail and with the same movement, sweep the floor.
The high school technical team (Jordan Bonar, RJ Elzy, Frederick Drayton, Max White, Jack Edge, and Winston Cornish) took first place overall. The middle school technical team (Kendall Cullison, Emily Sumner, Sam Carter, Layne Oldham, Brooks Butler, Fred Diggs, and Aubrey Kinard) will advance to state final with their second place finish.
“OM is in no way an easy thing to do,” said junior RJ Elzy. “One of the hardest things for our team to figure out was how to engineer the robot, and even though we still have some problems with it, the feeling we get when it works and everyone gasps is amazing.”
The Vehicle team, made up of members Semira Davis, Yasmine Lane, Wyndham Drayton, Seth Welch, Tian Green, and Julianna Watson, took second place overall in their division. They defeated their competition in the Spontaneous section.
In this problem, teams had to create three vehicles with different propulsion methods that approach a target area from three different directions.
“We still have to achieve many things, such as the creativity of how our vehicles worked and turning the vehicles,” said 8th grader Wyndham Drayton. “We did find satisfaction, though, in completing what was complicated. We brought out everything we had to offer: outstanding improv and our ability to think on our feet.”
Ellie Griffin, Ashley McKay, Caroline Hiers, Sydney Deutsch, Drew Parker, Natalie Herrin, and Oliver Aguilera placed 2nd out of six teams in the Division II Performance-based problem, “Superhero Cliffhanger.”
“I am incredibly proud of our students,” said Scholars Academy Design Thinking teacher and Co-Coach, Katie Chastain. “They are very competitive and even more creative than they are competitive. To top it off, our students are even more kind than they are competitive. We have a great group of kids.”
Scholars Academy also came away with top honors winning First Place in both the Creative Cake and Banner Competitions. These events allow parents, adults, and other students not solving long term problems to participate. Scholars Academy Junior, Sophie Barnes, designed and created the award winning banner with the assistance of sophomores Erin Quick and Alston Stevenson and eighth graders Aidan Little, Ayden Harrison and Garrison Ledford. Mandy Grage, wife of Thomasville Bulldogs football coach, Zach Grage, made the awe-inspiring cake to match Sophie’s banner design of hot air balloons floating up into the sky.
Two more Scholars Academy teams will compete in a separate regional tournament in Lilburn, Georgia, before the State Finals on April 1st. All teams are coached by Kimsey Hodge and Katie Chastain.