By Dr. Martin Cwiakala, Special to the Sword and Shield

On Saturday, December 3, the Robo-Raiders hosted the Columbia FIRST Lego League competition at…Keenan….One hundred thirty-three students from 13 middle school teams and alternative/home-school and online school associations competed in 4 events.  Parents, supporters, visitors, observers and teachers enjoyed the occasion as they filled the Commons Area. Five of the teams qualified and will advance to the state level. They will be attending the FIRST LEGO League S.C. State Tournament, which will be held at Irmo High School in Columbia on February 25…

Teams competed in 4 areas consisting of Research Presentation, Design Presentation, Robot Performance and Team Work/Core Values. Teams learned valuable technology and scientific lessons from the event as well as Gracious Professionalism, a few great dance moves and the value of high expectations.

Students from Forest Heights Elementary School competed for the first time, ultimately bring home 1st place in Team Work/Core Values.  These Forest Heights students were mentored by Senior Robo-Raider Delaquan Williams.

Members of the Keenan family who help make the event a success include Mr. KaReem Beckett, Mrs. Kirstin Bullington, Mr. James Coleman, Mrs. Ramona Saracila, Ms. Brenda Boyd (Media Specialist) and the custodial staff.

Student support was provided by the Robo-Raiders:  Freshman Briana Abraham; Senior Nathaniel Abraham; Sophomore Charann Brown; Freshmen Micah Crumpton, X’Avier Douglas and Carmen Hare; Juniors Nick Hollis, Chelsea Johnson and Greg Lindsey; Freshman Mia Mack; Senior Ariel Weeks; Sophomore Zoe Ellis; Freshman Kendra Entzminger; Junior Maya’ Goodwin; Senior Terrell Ross; Freshmen Ty’Kira Smalls and Terrence Weeks;  and Senior Curtis Hudson.

Parental support was organized by Ms. Paula Hollis. Parent support included Gregory and Doris Lindsey, Charles and Georgette Hare,  Mr. Terry Mack, Ms. Antoinetta  Entzminger, Ms. Robertha Dorsey, Ms. Earnestine Austin, Ms. Pat Abrahams, Ms. Nike’ Priester, Ms. Toni Crumpton and  Ms. Emily Jones.

District Technical support was provided by Mr. John Arnold.

Outside volunteers included Dr. Jed Lyons from the College of Engineering and Computing at the University of South Carolina; Ms. Stefanie Pirwitz, Outreach Coordinator at the University of South Carolina College of Engineering and Computing; Mrs. Peggy Cwiakala; Mr. B.T. Martin from the South Carolina Department of Education; Ms. Tonya LeBrun from the Roper Mountain Science Center, with her son Blake LeBrun; Mr. Joe Long…Ms. MK “Trina” Baldwin, P.E.; and Mr. Timothy Nafziger….

Dr. Cwiakala is one of Keenan’s Engineering teachers.