Pacelli students enter robotics competition

Published 8:34 am Tuesday, September 26, 2017

By Jonathan McDonough

Pacelli High School science

On Saturday, Sept. 16, a group of students from Pacelli High School traveled to South Dakota State University to attend the 2017 BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) Robotics Competition kickoff event.

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The trip, generously funded by the Pacelli PTCA, included the reveal of this year’s competition, equipment check-out, and training sessions for all levels of robotics enthusiasts. All of the materials, including both the returnable robot parts and the consumables, were provided free of charge by SDSU and its sponsors.

This competition is an excellent opportunity for Pacelli to get involved in robotics without having to absorb the immense cost of starting a program from scratch. Beyond supplying the materials, SDSU also provides training sessions aimed at helping teams of all skill and experience levels, as well as a practice day for teams to test out their design on a regulation playing field and receive help a week before competition.

This will be Pacelli’s first BEST endeavor, though the program has been around since 1993. Every year, BEST creates a unique competition that teaches applied engineering, math, and science using real-world contexts. This year’s theme, firefighting, search and rescue, challenges competitors to build a diverse robot which can launch projectiles to put out “fire” cups, rescue a pvc mannequin, and relocate barrels which represent hazardous waste containers — all in under three minutes.

Due to the diversity of the objectives and itemized scoring, the robotics competition accommodates teams of all skill levels. However, BEST is not solely about the robotics competition. Teams can choose to score in other areas as well, including an oral presentation, educational display, engineering notebook, and even spirit and sportsmanship. In order to be highly successful in the event, competitors must work well within their teams and appropriate tasks amongst a group of individuals.

The Pacelli physical science class, as well as a group of upperclassmen mentors, look forward to the regional Gameday on Saturday, Oct. 28  at the Swiftel Center in Brookings, S.D.

More information about the event, “Crossfire,” can be found at

If you are interested in learning more about Pacelli Catholic Schools visit our website at, email or call 507-437-3278.