War Eagle BEST is the local BEST Robotics hub for schools located in East Central Alabama and West Georgia. The program is co-hosted by the College of Sciences and Mathematics and the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn University. Each fall 25 local schools design, build, and program a robot from a kit of raw materials through implementation of the Engineering Design Process. The six-week-long program culminates in a one-day, sports-like competition.
If you would like to get involved with BEST, check out the document below with all the information you need to know:
For a taste of War Eagle BEST check out these photos from last year's competition!
BEST stands for Boosting Engineering Science and Technology, and is a national program with fifty local competition sites in eighteen states. It is administered by BEST Inc., a 501c3 non-profit organization, that sets curriculum and competition standards. The mission of BEST is to inspire students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through participation in a competitive robotics program that fosters knowledge, teamwork, and communication. A major tenet of the program is that it is free to schools; there is no cost for robotics materials nor to enter a team.
Each year, middle and high school student teams are tasked with building a robot to compete against other schools in that year's challenge. Each challenge is based on an educational model. Previous models include "Just Plane Crazy", in which students learned about aeronautics and built a simple model airplane with their robot; and "Total Recall" in which students studied six-sigma to optimize manufacturing.
The robotics competition is a high-energy sports-like environment but good sportsmanship is essential. Student-driven robots compete against the challenges of the game, not other robots. Each year's game theme and playing field is revealed in mid-September. Teams are given six weeks to design and build their robot before entering their local competition.
In addition to robotics, the most coveted award of the program is the BEST Award. To compete, students must provide an engineering notebook, give an oral marketing presentation, construct an educational exhibit, and show excellent team spirit and sportsmanship. BEST uses the excitement of robotics to teach engineering and business processes.
Co-founded in 2001 by the Auburn University Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and College of Sciences and Mathematics, the War Eagle BEST* hub was an instant success as 22 Alabama teams competed in "RAD to the Core" a game in which students designed and built a robot that runs on an overhead track to move fuel rods from nuclear reactors. The enthusiastic support from participating schools in 2001 encouraged growth of the BEST Robotics program throughout the state.
Today, the state of Alabama is home to eleven BEST Robotics hubs. War Eagle BEST serves as the BEST hub for middle and high schools in the following East Central Alabama counties: Autauga, Bullock, Chambers, Coosa, Elmore, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Montgomery, Russell, and Tallapoosa. In addition, War Eagle BEST accepts teams from West Georgia, as space is available.
Due in part to efforts by Auburn University, industry is now recognizing the BEST program as an ideal workforce development program in the state. The BEST program excels at introducing students to the engineering design process allowing student participants to become technically proficient. Technical skills acquired during BEST will serve the state's students in the future as more high tech industries arrive in Alabama.
The War Eagle BEST program kicks-off each August with the competition hosted in October. The top teams advance to one of three regional competitions. The eastern region's competition, South's BEST, is also hosted by Auburn University.
*War Eagle BEST was formerly called Alabama BEST
*Directions, maps, and other travel information will be put here closer to the competition in the fall.
Kick Off Day
Thursday, August 27, 5pm-7pm
Sunday, September 27, 1pm-5pm
Saturday, October 10, 8am-5pm
Student Acitivies Center
Auburn University Campus
December 5-6 (tentative)
Auburn University Campus
|Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School
|Benjamin Russell High School
||Alexander City, AL
|Central Educational Center
|Edward Bell Career Technical Center
||Camp Hill, AL
||Phenix City, AL
|LAMP High School
|Lanett High School
|Loachapoka High School
|Millbrook Middle School
|Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School
|Opelika High School
|Opelika Middle School
|Prattville High School
|Saint James School
|Smiths Station High School
||Smiths Station, AL
|Southside Middle School
|Spencer High School
|Wetumpka High School
|Wetumpka Middle School
This page is a useful tool for participating teams to check back often for key information. Any updates, useful resources, or announcments will be added here for teams to view and access.
BEST Award Winners
1st Place: Wetumpka High School
2nd Place: Eastwood/Cornerstone School
3rd Place: Springwood School
4th Place (finalist): Saint James School
1st Place Robotics: Southside Middle School
2nd Place Robotics: Lee-Scott Academy
3rd Place Robotics: Wetumpka High School
4th Place Robotics (finalist): Eastwood/Cornerstone School
Advanced to South's Best
1: Wetumpka High School
2: Southside Middle School
3: Eastwood/Cornerstone School
4: Lee-Scott Academy
2014 Full Results
2014 Final Robot Rankings
Past Teacher of the Year Recipients
2014: Mrs. Vicky Eichelberg - Saint James School (Montgomery, AL)
2013: Mrs. Karlia Willis - Springwood School (Lanett, AL)
2012: Dr. Joseph Profio - Montgomery Catholic Preparatory (Montgomery, AL)
2011: Mr. Scott Moody - Lee-Scott Academy (Auburn, AL)
2010: Mrs. Krista Ashley - Episcopal Day School (Gadsden, AL)
2009: Mr. Steve Ballard - Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School (Montgomery, AL)
2008: Mrs. Jennifer Cox - Stanhope Elmore High School (Millbrook, AL)
2007: Mrs. Virginia Vilardi - Wetumpka High School (Wetumpka, AL)
War Eagle BEST is a volunteer-based program, almost entirely staffed by volunteers from Auburn University, civic groups, the community, local industry, and local and state government. We gladly welcome all individuals and groups that want to be a part of this worthwhile, rewarding, and incredibly fun experience! Hosting the competition requires 30 - 50 volunteers working in several different capacities to make the event a success. All volunteers (mentors, judges, personnel) receive training, t-shirt, and lunch. No experience is required to participate and training is provided.
Here are the three types of volunteers at War Eagle BEST:
Team mentors -
Team mentors work directly with a school's robotics team through the six week "design and construction" phase leading up to the competition itself.
Who: Team mentors are generally members of the local community and/or industry with a strong commitment to helping students.
- Competition judges assess numerous awards categories on "Game Day". Categories range from non-technical (marketing presentations, spirit & sportsmanship) to technical (most elegant and most creative robot design) and all are fun to judge!
Who: Competition judges should be AU graduate students, faculty or STEM professionals.
Event Personnel -
Event personnel aid in Game Day operations, including such areas as registration, hospitality, merchandise sales, refereeing, and scorekeeping.
Who: Anyone can serve as Game Day Personnel. AU undergraduate students are welcome and encouraged to serve as event personel.
To register to volunteer as event personnel for War Eagle BEST click the button below:
For more information about becoming a team mentor or a competition judge please contact:
Mary Lou Ewald, Director of Outreach at firstname.lastname@example.org or 334-844-5745