Phone: (770) 787-1330 Fax: (770) 784-2950 Email:


March 10, 2016

Newton County Theme School’s (NCTS) robot-bearing students from Team 11028B, secured the Middle School Excellence Award at the Georgia VEX IQ Robotics State Championship in Cumming, GA this past weekend and will now be headed to Louisville, KY to compete in the 2016 World Championships held April 20-23rd

The Excellence Award is the highest award presented at a VEX IQ event and was awarded to NCTS because of their outstanding performance in all portions of the competition.  The action-packed day engaged elementary and middle school students in VEX IQ Bankshot, a game which involves student-designed robots to score points on a 4’ x 8’ field by emptying game balls out of predefined cutout locations, scoring balls into a scoring zone and goal, and parking robots on a ramp at the end of each match.  Additionally, teams showed off their skills in a STEM Research presentation, Driver Skills matches, Programming Skills matches, and judged interviews.  NCTS’s winning VEX IQ team is comprised of students: Nolan McCamy, Mark Ross, Owen Lane, Caleb Williams, Gordon Everett, Caden Coggins, and Mason Garrett.  The team is coached by teachers Kena Hudgins and Wendi Carnes.

Throughout the season, the students apply what they’ve learned about science, technology, engineering and math, in order to participate in open-ended robotics and research challenges. The VEX IQ Challenge fosters student development of teamwork, collaboration, critical thinking, project management, and communication skills required to prepare them to become the next generation of innovators and problem solvers.  This is the first year that NCTS has participated in VEX IQ and their hard work and dedication are evident in their success.

Kena Hudgins, one of the team’s advisors said, “I am proud of these students for their ability to take what they’ve learned in the classroom and apply it to the real world through designing, building, and programming robots.  They have spent countless hours outside of school practicing and perfecting their robots and developing a winning strategy.  We couldn’t be more proud of the way our NCTS teams represented at the state event!”

Teams from Mansfield Elementary, East Newton Elementary, Porterdale Elementary, Flint Hill Elementary, Cousins Middle, Clements Middle, Indian Creek Middle, Liberty Middle, and Veteran’s Memorial Middle School also participated in this past weekend’s event.  While NCTS took home the ultimate prize, many teams from Newton County School System (NCSS) performed well. Overall, nine NCSS teams made it to the finals of the tournament (2 teams from Cousins, 3 teams from Liberty, 3 teams from NCTS, and 1 from East Newton) with one of the Cousins teams finishing 2nd in the Teamwork Challenge and another NCTS team winning the Middle School STEM Research Award.  Overall, NCSS teams made up 19 of the 38 total teams that advanced to the state tournament.

Tim Schmitt, the Career,Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) Coordinator from Newton County Schools, said, “Students participating in the VEX IQ Challenge consistently exhibit high levels of enthusiasm, teamwork, and a true passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.  It’s been amazing to see VEX IQ grow within NCSS over the last year and a half and I can’t wait to see our teams continue to represent us well at the state and international level!”

The NCTS Excellence Award winners will join five other teams from Georgia to compete at the World Championships.  This event is truly an international one, where our students will have a chance to compete with and against others from all over the U.S. as well as teams from China, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Finland, Chile, Turkey, and more from all across the globe.

As the NCTS Excellence Award team prepares for their trip to the World Championship, they are seeking donations and sponsorships to help offset the cost of the trip as well as new parts for the robot.  The team has estimated they will need approximately $5000.00 to fully fund this exciting endeavor.  Anyone interested in sponsoring the team should contact Kena Hudgins at or Tim Schmitt at