Happy Valley Middle engineers way to state tourney win

Published 3:30 pm Monday, March 5, 2018

As excitement grows in Carter County Schools for the expansion of Career and Technical Education (CTE) opportunities, students at one local middle school are making the most out of the unique situation.

Happy Valley Middle School continued to make a mark with their second-year robotics program over the weekend by coming away with a tournament championship in the VEX Tennessee Middle School Robotics state competition held Saturday at Brentwood Academy. With their team’s victory, HVMS will be represented in the upcoming World Championship set to take place in April.  Team V — better known as HV Warbot Hephaestus — is comprised of Jackson Taylor, Clara Smith, Zach Stephens and Ryan Eggers and will be one of 180 teams in the world taking part in the World event.

HVMS instructor Mike Dorsey was quick to praise the efforts of the children following their win Saturday, providing updates to the community via text messages from Brentwood.

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Over 20 teams competed over the weekend, including another HVMS team — Lemonjello—– which is made up of Malachi Clark, Hailey Crawford, Adam Sheppard and Isaiah Brumitt.

From Northeast Tennessee, HVMS will also be joined by Johnson County Middle, who took home the General Excellence Award from Saturday’s event.

Year two has been a whirlwind for the Warriors following up a busy first year. Hephaestus came away with wins during the regular season and originally punched their ticket to state in December by coming away with top honors in a competition in Chattanooga. The team followed up to start off the new year with a win at a competition at Sullivan North High School.

Helping anchor this year’s teams was a bevy of support from the community, including the East Tennessee Foundation. The organization provided grant funding to expand the program and help cover the cost of additional robots at the school. Since the first year of the program, other schools within the system have started to develop their own robotics program.

“At first, it was just an idea,” Stephens recently told the Elizabethton Star. “It has continued to grow since our inaugural year. This school and community is getting behind us. It’s beyond overwhelming. I’m excited to see the progress. I think it is a mark of showing the growing interest in STEM in the community. Everything is becoming so technology driven and it is great.”

For a recap of the event and comments from the students, be sure to pick up the Wednesday print edition of the Elizabethton Star.