Buena Park Junior High School Students Excel Under Pressure at Robotics Tournament

Buena Park Junior High eight-grader Savannah Johnson, while making last-minute mechanical adjustments to her bot, said competing in robotics tournaments is nerve-wracking yet satisfying because it allows her to showcase her engineering skills against other students.

Johnson was one of eight Buena Park Junior High students to compete at the recent Robot Nation tournament, an annual contest that pits junior high schools against each other to see whose robot can best complete obstacle courses and objectives.

“Building the robot with your own two hands and being able to challenge what others designed is so much fun,” Johnson said. “It can be difficult sometimes and frustrating when you don’t get it, but it’s satisfying when you figure it out and it’s nice to have the experience.”

More than 80 students making up 30 teams from Brea, Nicolas, Parks and Rancho Starbuck junior high schools crowded the Buena Park Junior High gymnasium for the May 4 tournament.

During the tournament, robots clashed as students demonstrated maneuvering skills, tested their robots’ ability to manipulate objects into a ring and applied science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) principles to make on-the-fly adjustments.

The gym was filled with parents, families, educators and coaches who cheered as student-directed robots launched plastic, yellow balls at color-coded posts and took on other lively obstacles.

“We want to build STEM opportunities that prepare students for college and careers,” Buena Park Junior High Principal Erik Bagger said. “At Buena Park Junior High School, our goal is to increase the number of students who pursue STEM fields. We do this by increasing student interest and engagement through competitions like this.”

At the end of the tournament, teams from Rancho and Brea tied for first, one Buena Park team took second, another Rancho team took third, and a second Buena Park team secured fourth.


052119_BUENAPARK_ROBOT: Buena Park Junior High School robotics students control their bots during a ball-tossing event during the Robot Nation tournament on May 4.