Walker Valley High School freshman Logan Pierce won first place in the electrical and mechanical category for the second time at this year’s competition.
Last year, he was awarded first place in the junior (middle school) division. This year he competed in the senior division.
Pierce said he was the only public school student competing in his category.
The first-place award comes with a $300 scholarship to the college or university of his choosing. The student said he hopes to pursue a career in the electrical and mechanical field.
“It’s really interesting,” Pierce said.
Trial and error is Pierce’s favorite aspect of the field.
“It’s pretty cool to think about it and then if something doesn’t work, you go back and start thinking about what you could do different or what could go wrong, all the way down until you find the problem,” Pierce said.
Pierce was also the recipient of the $50 U.S. Navy Award at the event
“We are certainly proud of him. He represents his school and the freshman academy well,” freshman academy student Denny Collins said.
The competition is divided by category but is not divided by grade level.
Both years Pierce entered his underwater robot.
“The design is the same, but the wiring was improved,” Pierce said.
The student said he has always been interested in electronics and began his project after watching a show on the Discovery Channel. On the show, an underwater robot was used to find valuables under water. So far, all that Pierce has found of worth is aluminum cans.
Pierce competed in the event March 13 at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
During the competition, students present a summary of their project, project research and results to a panel of judges.
“The research plan I did was we took a diver (and compared) how fast it (the robot) could go versus the diver and it was pretty close,” Pierce said.
The student said he has worked on the project off an on for a year or two.
“It is really a joy to have someone like Logan on campus. We feel like we’ve got 1,500 Logans here, its just a matter of getting them to the point that he is at as a freshman — to hear and to see someone who values the process of learning,” Collins said.
Pierce entered the contest last year after his mother read about the opportunity in a continuing education magazine.