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Lydia at the BEST competition Mall Day, where students take their robots for a mock competition before the final competition.

Lydia Sutton- Experience at BEST Robotics Competition

The BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology) competition presented by Elliott Group was hosted by Grove City College on October 13-14.  The BEST competition is a “middle and high school robotics competition whose mission is to engage and excite students about engineering, science, and technology as well as inspire them to pursue careers in these fields” ( The teams worked for the past six weeks to create a functioning robotic machine that can complete certain tasks in three minutes. This year, 22 teams and approximately 400 students competed at the Arena in the Physical Learning Center at Grove City College.

Lydia Sutton, a junior Elementary Education major talks about her experience in the BEST challenge when she was in high school.

Lydia at the BEST competition Mall Day, where students take their robots for a mock competition before the final competition.

Lydia at the BEST competition Mall Day, where students take their robots for a mock competition before the final competition.

What school did you participate with?

I participated in BEST with Christian Life Academy in Seneca, PA. I was a senior in high school when CLA started BEST Robotics.

Did you participate in the BEST challenge at Grove City (or had you heard of Grove City before)?

I did participate in the BEST challenge hosted at Grove City. I had also heard of Grove City before. I had been on a  tour prior to BEST, and a couple of my co-workers at a camp I worked at were Grovers. Additionally, I live less than an hour away, so I’d heard of it because it is so close to where I live. However, BEST gave me a chance to get more familiar with campus, which I wouldn’t have had if not for BEST.

What made you decide to participate in the BEST robotics challenge?

During my senior year, I was playing around with the idea of pursuing the field of engineering, and I thought that BEST robotics would be a great way to see if I would be interested in a STEM field. Additionally, my uncle is an engineer, and he actually started the program at CLA. So, I had some family obligations to fulfill.

Would you encourage other high school students to participate? Why?

I would DEFINITELY encourage other high school students to participate in BEST!!! Even though I ended up not becoming an engineer, I really enjoyed the program. It actually helped me see that my strengths didn’t lie in STEM, but in leadership. I was the CEO of our company, meaning that I oversaw all the “departments:” marketing presentations, building of the robot, fundraising, designing of the booth, writing of the engineering notebook, etc. I would encourage all students to get involved, and you don’t necessarily need to be inclined towards STEM. There are so many ways for students to demonstrate their talents and gifts through the various “departments” that I mentioned earlier. The program provides opportunities for students to get a taste of real-world work: You need to work together to create and market a successful product. I personally really enjoyed the team-building that took place. Especially since it was CLA’s first year when I participated, there was A LOT of problem solving and teamwork that happened! Additionally, it was a great way for me to spend some time with my cousins who were in the program, my aunt and uncle who headed the program, and underclassmen who I wouldn’t have necessarily gotten to know outside of robotics. Don’t get me wrong- it was REALLY hard work. But it was totally worth it, and I’m so proud to say that I was a part of BEST robotics!

Did participating in the competition help you make a decision on whether or not to attend Grove City College (if you competed at Grove City)?

Participating in this competition definitely gave me a chance to fall more in love with this campus. As I mentioned, this experience more helped me figure out what major not to pick than what to pick, but I definitely enjoyed becoming more familiar with campus. I also thought it was really cool that a college would provide such a rich opportunity like BEST to high school students. While I don’t know that I could say that BEST directly influenced me to come to GCC, it definitely got me interested to learn more about GCC.

To find out more about the BEST competition visit:

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