St. Mark’s School of Texas hosted the kick-off day for Dallas BEST Robotics, the all-volunteer local chapter of the national BEST (Boosting Engineering Science & Technology) Robotics Competition. More than 300 middle and high school students from rough 32 DFW schools spent Saturday, September 7, 2019, in the Winn Science Center and McDermott-Green Science Building, where they learned the details of this year’s BEST Robotics Competition, titled “Off the Grid.” After a series of presentations, students and teachers packed into the Winn Science Center’s two-story lobby for the reveal of the BEST Competition game field. Teams then received their material kits and began planning the design of their robots. Newer teams were invited to stay for hands-on build sessions and supervised workshops, such as a sensor kit soldering workshop.
More than 15 Marksmen served as both participants and hosts, gearing up for the construction of their own robot while also guiding visitors around the new facilities and helping with the game field’s setup and teardown. Several St. Mark’s faculty members also helped oversee the kick-off event, including Fletcher Carron, Stephen M. Seay ’68 Science Department Chair; Doug Rummel, Founders’ Master Teaching Chair; and Stewart Mayer, the School’s first Maker Space Director.
“It was truly incredible to see hundreds of students and teachers crowd into the Winn Science Center for the presentation of the game field,” said Fletcher Carron. “This kind of gathering would not have been possible before and shows how these new facilities will serve not only Marksmen but the greater Dallas community. We really put the new buildings through their paces this weekend, and, thanks to the dedicated Marksmen who worked all day, the kick-off was a huge success.”
The weekend’s activities took place in the Winn Science Center, which opened in January 2019, and the McDermott-Green Science Building, which reopened its doors last month after an extensive renovation. The combined 75,000 square-foot state-of-the-art facilities represent the latest in science education.
The BEST (Boosting Engineering Science & Technology) Competition was created in 1993 by two Texas Instruments engineers to encourage student interest and foster hands-on learning in STEM. Today, the competition includes more than 18,000 students participating on more than 850 middle and high school teams across the United States. St. Mark’s has participated in the BEST Competition since 2003 and has represented the Dallas Hub at the Texas State Championship 13 of the past 16 seasons.