Robotics teams from 26 schools were on campus Sept. 17 for the kickoff event of the all-volunteer local chapter of the national Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology (BEST) Robotics Competition. Local Robotics Team members hosted the event, held in the Winn Science Center.
“We were happy to be able to host this year,” said Fletcher Carron, Steven M. Seay ’68 Science Department Chair. “It’s a small way we can give back to a competition that has provided meaningful learning experiences and many great memories to past Marksmen.
The morning included the unveiling of the game field, dissemination of materials and explanation of rules — all leading up to eight weeks of preparation which culminate in a competition. Saturday’s event was the first time the School hosted the event since 2019 and gives broad experience for the approximate 350 attendees.
Since this day was not a competition, it was intended just for students and coaches of the pre-registered teams. The kickoff is run by volunteers from engineering firms like Texas Instruments and Raytheon, along with assistance from local Robotics Team members.
“The BEST Robotics competition kickoff was a great success,” said Stewart Mayer, Makerspace director. “St. Mark’s Robotics Team members donated their time to set up the demonstration field and help run the event. Then, they immediately started strategizing and brainstorming robot designs to accomplish the game’s tasks. Every year the competition has a different challenge. This year is especially interesting, our team’s robot must actually control another robot using manipulator arms and infrared commands. It will be an exciting eight weeks!
The local Upper School Robotics Team includes approximately 25 members. Coaches include Carron, Mayer and Will Ferenc ‘09, a former SM Robotics student who now works as a hardware engineer at SpaceX.
St. Mark’s School of Texas is a private, nonsectarian college-preparatory boys’ day school for students in grades 1 through 12, located in Dallas, Texas. St. Mark’s aims to prepare young men to assume leadership and responsibility in a competitive and changing world.
St. Mark’s does not discriminate in the administration of its admission and education policies on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national or ethnic origin.