Living Democracy

Selma Council Commends Robodog Inventors

R.B. Hudson Robotics Team at Selma CouncilGovernmental bodies don’t always see eye-to-eye on the actions they should take when making important decisions. More often than not, they opt to agree to disagree. Otherwise, progress would be at a stalemate. The Selma City Council is no exception. At a recent meeting, council members played a bout of tug of war concerning issues such as a new landline telephone system and a more serious dilemma, the sinkhole crisis near the downtown area.

Legislating a city with a population of 20,000 is not an easy task, so solidifying important decisions may require a second thought.

But no second thought was needed when the R.B Hudson Middle School Robotics Team visited the Council. The team came to share great news that demonstrates Selma’s youth are showing up and showing out in the academic arena, bringing a smile to every Council member’s face.

The Council, along with other citizens at the meeting, got to witness a demo of Robodog’s award-winning performance.

Sign of Selma City HallA team of five students introduced themselves at the Council meeting. They were recognized for helping to create Robodog, an invention that won second place at the 2015 SECME State Engineering Design Competition held at Tuskegee Middle School and hosted by Tuskegee University.

Robodog executed commands in such a fashion that the judges found it worthy of the 2nd Place prize in the SECME/VEX Robotics division in the spring competition.

The team of middle school engineers didn’t reach their victory without a face-to-face encounter with adversity first. Less than a week before the competition, Robodog didn’t exist.  Their original version did not meet standards to compete so they went back to the drawing board.

In spite of the time crunch, the R. B. Hudson Robotics team refused to stand still. With the time they had left, expert helping hands, and two motivated and supportive coaches, Robodog was born.  

Sometimes situations call for unearthing resilience to accomplish what you’ve set out to do. As a spoken word artist, I’ve been thrown in situations where an event was days away, but writer’s block left nothing but blank space on paper.         

When plan A didn’t work out, I imagine those bright, young engineers felt as I did: almost defeated. Almost. I reached down into a place that I seldom go, and pulled out one of the best poems I’ve ever written. Those students chose not to dwell on a failed plan A and proceeded to carry out plan B in the midst of creating it.

The robotics team from Selma walked away from the Tuskegee competition with an award and one more shot at another title.  The team will next take Robodog to the University of Alabama’s College of Engineering on June 25 to compete in the SECME National Engineering Design Competition Finals.  

At the edge of her seat and a proud twinkle in her eyes, Councilwoman Angela Benjamin encouraged the students not to “drop that piece of science.”  A future in engineering would definitely challenge their ever-evolving minds to the brink of creativity and be financially rewarding as well.

If the Selma City Council didn’t agree on anything else, it was impossible for them not to agree that Selma’s youth are proving that they are a force to be reckoned with.

By Illyshia Parker
Last Updated: June 08, 2015