Digital Original: LR robotics team builds prosthetic leg for stuffed animal; wins national award

Digital Originals

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A local robotics team is celebrating a big win, bringing home a trophy from one of the largest robotics tournaments in the world.


“It is all them and so it is their perseverance it’s their hard work. They sometimes beg us for more practice times and we meet three hours a week on a regular basis as we get closer to competitions – it’s more than that. They ask for Saturdays. I mean these  kids are dedicated and I love watching what they come up with.” said Heather Olvey, team moderator and teacher.

Here is the full news release about the team and their achievement.

“The Wabbots, a robotics team representing Our Lady of the Holy Souls Catholic School in Little Rock, won the Middle School VEX IQ STEM Video of the Year Award in the U.S. Open National Robotics Championship, one of the largest robotics tournaments in the world.

The annual U.S. Open Robotics Championship is hosted by the CREATE Foundation. The highly selective competition hosts up to 110 teams annually from around the world. Due to COVID-19, this year’s competition was reduced to 80 domestic teams and was judged via video submissions.

“Each year, the ambition, confidence and effort from the students grows and allows for them to excel beyond expectations,” said Amanda Brooks, parent sponsor of the Holy Souls robotics teams. Principal of Our Lady of the Holy Souls School stated, “We’re so proud of our students for their dedication and hard work.”

According to the CREATE Foundation, The “STEM Research Project” award was presented to the team that best:

● Identifies a challenge topic of interest that relates to the STEM theme for the season
● Completes research and collects evidence using reliable sources
● Demonstrates a well-organized and documented process to study and explain research findings
 ● Describes how the research findings were applied to develop and test the solution
● Shares the solution in an effective and creative presentation
● Students demonstrate an understanding of the research process
● Students demonstrate teamwork and effective communication skills

The Wabbots’ project focused on robotics in prosthetics, and they built a prosthetic leg for a stuffed animal to demonstrate what they’d learned through their research from internet sources, library books, and professionals at Snell Prosthetics, an Arkansas-based company located close to the Holy Souls campus.

The Wabbots team is made up of five students: Lindsey Morris (7th grade), Carson Vogelpohl, Harrison Brooks and Sam Gunderman (all 6th grade), and Henry Saer (5th grade).

In January, the team won the Design Award at the Two Rivers VEX IQ Winter 2020 Middle School Bash in Ola, Arkansas. Winning the design award advanced the Wabbots to the Arkansas State Competition and their unique STEM project earned the team an invitation to the U.S. Open Robotics Championship.

The Arkansas VEX organization has 517 total teams, of which 282 are VEX IQ, evenly divided 141 in each elementary and middle school divisions.

The Wabbots is one of four teams at Holy Souls School, which began its robotics program only three years ago.

In addition to the Wabbots’ national win, Holy Souls teams won a total of six awards during the season and the Wabbots were joined by an elementary school team, The 4 Roboteers, in their participation in state and U.S. Open competitions. The teams are sponsored by two teachers, Debbie Poirot and Heather Olvey, and two parents, Amanda and Ryan Brooks.”

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