It was an exciting four days for Camdenton R-III FIRST LASER robotic teams as they represented the lake area at the international FIRST robotics championship over the last week of April. This appearance marks the seventh time in eight years that the high school team has qualified to compete at the world championship.

It was an exciting four days for Camdenton R-III FIRST LASER robotic teams as they represented the lake area at the international FIRST robotics championship over the last week of April. This appearance marks the seventh time in eight years that the high school team has qualified to compete at the world championship.
The excitement built as opening ceremonies approached and LASER was asked to provide an FLL Jr. team member to speak at opening ceremonies. Grace Law from Osage Beach Elementary was given VIP status and escorted to main floor of the dome where she stepped in front of a teleprompter and introduced a FIRST sponsor and speaker from Monsanto. After the opening ceremonies Grace got to meet FIRST founder Dean Kamen and FIRST President Don Bossi.  
The Camdenton High School 4-H FIRST LASER team competed in the Tesla Division. The team brought home the coveted Championship Underwriter’s Laboratory Safety award. This award is given to a team that progress beyond safety fundamentals by using innovative ways to eliminate or protect against hazards. LASER team co-captains Melissa Stout, Miranda Swarts and Hailey Green worked diligently throughout the school year to prepare pit crews and team members through trainings and safety education.  In addition, the co-captains gave safety presentations to groups of judges and were required to answer questions regarding safety procedures, reporting and community outreach while making sure the team’s pit and drive crew remains safe while working on the robot during and outside of competitions.  The LASER program will be offering safety training for other teams next year at the St. Louis regional in an order to help other teams adhere to safe practices during the build and competition seasons.
The HS LASER team’s robot was ranked 11th in their division going into the last two matches which the team lost by a combined margin of eight points and slid them to a rank of 28th.  The team was selected by the eighth alliance which was defeated in the quarter finals.  The team is preparing for the Missouri State FIRST Robotics Competition which is invitation only. The Camdenton LASER robot is ranked #5 in the state rankings and was scheduled to compete in St. Louis for the state title.
In addition to the High School competing, eleven very excited teams of second and third graders from the LASER FIRST LEGO League Jr. (FLL Jr) teams traveled to St Louis to compete at Union Station with teams from South Korea, Russia, China and the United States.  Teams represented all Camdenton R-III elementary buildings:  Hurricane Deck, Osage Beach, Dogwood and Hawthorn.  The FLL Jr program introduces teams to simple machines, research and coding.  Each team had to build and program a moving model, research a real world problem, present a solution and be interviewed by judges.  The FLL Jr. competition took place over three days culminating with an exciting awards ceremony at the American Center Dome in St. Louis.
All eleven teams brought home awards.  In addition to individual medals each team received a LEGO® trophy made in Denmark.
Picasso Award – Camdenton 4-H LASER #4890 Hurricane Deck Elementary
Team Spirit Award - Camdenton 4-H LASER #189 Dogwood/Hawthorn Elementary
Rising Star Award – Camdenton 4-H LASER #184 Osage Beach Elementary
Terrific Thinker Award- Camdenton 4-H LASER #5631 Osage Beach Elementary
Redefining Learning Award - Camdenton 4-H LASER #190 Osage Beach Elementary
Gracious Professionalism Award - Camdenton 4-H LASER #186 Dogwood/Hawthorn Elementary
Coopertition® Award - Camdenton 4-H LASER #5630 Osage Beach Elementary
Solid As a Rock Award - Camdenton 4-H LASER #185  Dogwood/Hawthorn Elementary
Construction Innovation Award - Camdenton 4-H LASER #744  Dogwood/Hawthorn Elementary
Master Programmer Award –Camdenton 4-H LASER #9354 Hurricane Deck Elementary
Amazing Movement Award - Camdenton 4-H LASER #5631 Dogwood/Hawthorn Elementary
On Friday the district bused up the remaining team members from the Middle School and Oakridge Intermediate so they could support the other teams competing and could visit the innovation faire.  The Innovation Faire had booths from large industry and hands on activities that students could participate in while visiting.  In addition, all students were able to see inventions that FIRST founder, Dean Kamen, had on display.  
Students were also able to visit scholarship row where MIT, Yale, MS&T, WPI and other prestigious schools were showcased.  In 2017 over $50 million in college scholarships are available through FIRST robotics.  Several LASER alumni have been recipients of FIRST scholarships including current LASER senior Cameron Rogers.
The Camdenton 4-H FIRST LASER team would like to thank all of its sponsors, mentors, parents and community members that have so generously supported the teams through sponsorships, donations and volunteerism.