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March 27, 2013

March 27, 2013

For additional information,
Contact: Amanda Shell
Moxley Carmichael
(865) 255-0661


High school robotics teams have been working for weeks to create robots that can throw discs and scale pyramids in hopes of making the “Ultimate Ascent” to a first place finish at Tennessee’s largest US FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition – The Smoky Mountains Regional.

Thirteen high school teams from the greater Knoxville area are among more than 50 regional entrants competing at the Smoky Mountains Regional at the Knoxville Convention Center this weekend, March 29-30.

Local teams from Catholic High School, Hardin Valley Academy, Oak Ridge High School, Farragut High School, the Knox County STEM Academy, South-Doyle High School, Maryville High School, West High School, Seymour High School, Gibbs High School, Clinton High School, Roane County High School and Halls High School are competing in the event.

“This is the third year that we’ve hosted the Smoky Mountains Regional at our facility, and we’re excited to once again host hundreds of future leaders in science and engineering at the Convention Center this weekend,” said Knoxville Convention Center General Manager Mary Bogert. “I am amazed at the technological feats these young people accomplish, and I always look forward to seeing each year’s theme and the creative challenges the students must overcome.”

Each year, the robotics competition has a different theme. This year’s theme is “Ultimate Ascent,” and the main competition involves creating robots that can throw discs and scale a pyramid. Whichever robot team gets the most discs in the goal and climbs highest on a pyramid, wins.

The US FIRST Robotics Competition is a nationwide STEM program created by Dean Kamen, founder of FIRST, to educate and motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge and life skills.

Practice rounds begin on Thursday, March 28. Competitions will take place Friday, March 29, starting at 8:30 a.m. with an awards ceremony at 5:45 p.m. and Saturday, March 30, starting at 8:30 a.m. with an awards ceremony at 4:30 p.m. Admission is free, and the event is open to the public.

Since the fall, local high school students have been working with professional engineers and adult mentors to recruit sponsors and raise funds for their robotics teams. A live telecast kicked off the 2013 FIRST robotics season and announced this year’s competition theme and unique robotics challenge to students gathered at the University of Tennessee Knoxville on Jan. 5. From that day, the teams had six short weeks to design, program and build their robots to play the 2013 game.

For 2013, 875 scholarship opportunities from more than 160 scholarship providers and academic institutions totaling more than $16 million are available to FIRST robotics participants.

About The Knoxville Convention Center

The Knoxville Convention Center, managed by SMG, is located in downtown Knoxville adjacent to the Sunsphere. It boasts a 120,000 square-foot exhibit hall, a 27,000 square-foot divisible ballroom and up to 25 meeting rooms. For more information, visit