The 1Roar Foley Vex Robotics Tournament will bring schools from around the State to the Foley Event Center December 15 to compete for a spot at the state tournament.

School robotics programs span elementary through high school levels. Each year a new objective is set for what these robots have to accomplish. Kids receive a kit, plastic for the younger levels and metal for the older levels.

1Roar Foley Vex Robotics Tournament Director Thomas Thorjusen described the objective for the older students is to turn flags to reflect their team color, turn caps to reflect their team color, and park their robot on the field platform before time expires. Younger kids will use their 60-second time limit to move plastic “hubs” to a specified area on the field, knock off the bonus pieces that sit above the field, and have their robot hang off the hanging bar when time expires.

Thorjusen said that the challenges help students think in whole new ways.

“Robotics offer skills directly correlated to real-world, high-paying tech careers. Computer science, physics, and math are used on a regular basis. Robotics helps students become motivated in problem-solving, critical thinking, collaborating and communicating at a high level, which motivates and involves them further into their own learning,” Thorjusen said. “Competition is the catalyst that fuels the motivation for students to do the best they can, which, in turn, maximizes their learning and understanding of complex and relevant STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, and Math) pathways to be successful in our world of technology.”

While maybe not as recognized as sports or other school clubs, robotics is growing in Foley. There are six active competitive teams and growing at the high school alone, with an additional six at Foley Middle School. Foley Elementary, Foley Intermediate, Magnolia School, Summerdale, and Swift are all currently developing teams.

Thorjusen explained the Foley Event Center is the perfect place to host the burgeoning tournament.

“The Foley Event Center has the facilities to run a good show,” said Thorjusen. “They have the ability to support small and large events, can accommodate power, networking, provide optimal layouts for both the competition and spectator viewing. The Event Center would be a perfect facility to host a multi-state regional competition with over 100 teams from Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Foley is a perfect destination and easy to reach with amenities, such as Tanger Outlet, OWA Amusement Park, restaurants, and, of course, the beaches.”

The Foley Sports Tourism staff is excited to bring something new into the event center.

“We are excited to partner with Foley High School on a type of event we’ve never hosted before,” said Foley Director of Recreation and Sports Tourism, David Thompson. ”We are more than just conventional sports, and this is a way for us to showcase that while also supporting and growing robotics in our area.”

The 1Roar Foley Vex Robotics Tournament is open to the public and free to attend. For more information on it or any Foley Sports Tourism Event,