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School for the Deaf STEM teams capture out-of-state honors

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

SULPHUR, Okla.  — It’s one thing to win contests in your home state. Oklahoma School for the Deaf ‘s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics teams are celebrating out-of-state wins at national STEM competitions.

Coaches Kym Vance and Kelsey Jones took teams to two different tournaments at Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind in Talladega, Alabama and one tournament at American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut.  

“Our students are fascinated by technology,” OSD Superintendent Dr. Heather Laine said. “I am tremendously proud of our OSD teams who competed in robotics competitions and placed in the top 10 at Alabama School for the Deaf and American School for the Deaf in Connecticut.

“Coach Kym Vance and Coach Kelsey Jones prepared their teams well for these competitions," Laine said.

Two of OSD’s three high school robotics teams finished in the top 10 at the 5th National Technical Institute for the Deaf’s Regional STEM Center VEX Robotics Competition for deaf and hard of hearing students in Alabama.  

Thirty-five teams participated in the VRC Spin Up robotics competition in driver-controlled matches and autonomous skills matches using programs the students created. Teams also completed in engineering notebooks and interviews with judges.  

OSD’s middle school robotics teams also traveled to Alabama to compete against 33 teams in the 4th NRSC VEX IQ Slapshot Competition. They also competed in driver- controlled and autonomous skills matches, engineering notebooks, and interviews with judges.

Two of OSD’s three middle school teams advanced to bracket play with Boss Mode finishing 9th and The Hornets finishing in 10th place. 

OSD’s high school and middle school underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle teams travelled to Connecticut for the 2nd NRSC SeaPerch Challenge. Competitors faced an obstacle course, mission course, team interviews and engineering notebooks.

Both middle school teams finished in the top 10 on the mission course. Aqua Bison finished 4th on the obstacle course. There were 22 teams in the middle school division. 

All three of OSD’s high school three teams finished in the top 10 on the mission course Two finished in the top 10 on the obstacle course. In addition to 1st place in mission course and 2nd place in obstacle course, Underwater Fighters earned the top excellence award, which combines all aspects of the competition to crown a best overall team. Underwater Fighters will now advance to the International Seaperch Competition on May 13th at the University of Maryland.

OSD sent three high school and two middle school drone teams to the 1st NRSC Aerial Drone Competition in Connecticut.

All five teams advanced to bracket play. Bison Bros advanced to the championship match, finishing 2nd and becoming Middle School Tournament Champions.

Bison Bros will now advance to the World Championship tournament on April 21 and 22 in Flowood, Mississippi. The Phoenix team competed in the quarterfinals, while Think Hard and Clutch Aces made it to the semifinals.


1st photo: OK School for the Deaf’s high school teams finished in the top 10 at the 5th Regional STEM Center VEX Robotics Competition in Alabama: (from left): Kisharra Belarde, Shakayla Simmons, Aracely Murillo, Craig Williams, Cayden Ducharme, RyJan Reininger, Peyton Fudge, Shannon Lewis and Joshua Cain. 2nd Photo: OSD’s middle school students earned honors at the 5th Regional STEM Center VEX Robotics Competition in Alabama: 1st row from left): Axel Benitez, Sarah Queen; (2nd row): Jaiden Robinson, Nathan Chauncy Justin Kale, Ty Barrington, Konner Ross. 3rd photo: OSD’s Underwater Fighters team earned the top excellence award and will compete in the International Seaperch Competition: Matt Howell (right) from National Technical Institute for the Deaf’s Regional STEM Center congratulates OSD students Craig Williams (left) and RyJan Reininger.

For more information

Jody Harlan, DRS Communications Director

Cell: 405-203-1318 

Last Modified on Apr 12, 2023