More from BEST (Boosting Engineering Science and Technology)

On 3-4 November, the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith hosted the 2006 Frontier Trails BEST Regional competition. (You may remember that a couple of weeks ago I wrote about the success of the Robohobos at the St. Louis hub event, Billiken BEST.) I’d like to extend my congratulations to all of the winning teams, but also to all of the teams that participated and especially to our home town Robohobos (who earned a third place award for their web site).

As someone who thinks that entirely too much money is spent on athletic programs in schools (at least in relation to the amount spent on other, non-athletic programs), I was heartened to see the incredible level of support from parents and other students, and to a lesser degree from the schools themselves. I’m not sure what I expected when we went to the competition, but it wasn’t like anything I had imagined.

Thirty teams competed in what, at times, seemed more like a high school sports event than a demonstration of engineering and academics. The Stubblefield Center at UAFS was filled with a cacophony of drums, horns, electric guitars, cheerleaders (yes, you read that right) and screaming fans. If I had been smart, I would have accepted the ear-plugs offered at the front door. I’ll know better next year.