On Saturday, March 16, cadets from Carolina Forest High School’s Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Program (NJROTC) competed in local area SeaPerch Competition hosted by McDowell High School, in Marion, North Carolina.
The competition was the first of the year for the Carolina Forest cadets, and only the second ever for the program. Tensions were running high as the cadets conducted final operational checks prior to the start. Over 25 teams from various North and South Carolina high schools participated.
“Seaperch is a fantastic program that is often a student’s first interactive experience with robotics. It helps them develop critical problem-solving skills, an appreciation for teamwork, and builds tremendous confidence in their ability to take on new challenges,” said Capt. Kevin P. Boyle, Senior Naval Science Instructor at CFHS.
SeaPerch is an innovative underwater robotics program that equips students and teachers with resources to build an underwater remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) in an in-school or out-of-school setting. Students build the ROV from a kit comprised of low-cost, easily accessible parts, following a curriculum that teaches basic engineering and science concepts with a marine engineering theme.
Students learn engineering concepts, teamwork, and technical applications. During the competition, the cadets were required to competently maneuver their ROVs through a series of challenging events including object retrieval, standard race, open race and the obstacle course.
During their first competition at this event last year, the Carolina Forest cadets took home a first and fifth-place award. Unfortunately for the Panther Navy, this time, the cadets came up short.
Undaunted, the team plans to compete again next year.
“It is very gratifying to watch these students grow and develop and become more comfortable with engineering concepts. They understand that there are career opportunities for them, if they keep learning,” said Boyle.