A group of STEM students took top honors at the Bison BEST competition Oct. 23-24 at the Fargo Civic Center.

Holly Erickson's class, comprised of sixth- and seventh-graders, finished second overall in a field of 24 teams, qualifying for the regional competition in Arkansas on Dec. 3-5.

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"It was getting toward the end of the awards ceremony and we hadn't been called," Erickson said. "We said, 'That's too bad for the kids.' No sooner had we said that and they called us for second place.

"Everyone was jumping and shouting. It was very exciting."

The STEM team even beat its biggest rival: West Fargo High School.

BEST - which stands for "Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology" - is a non-profit organization that puts on robotics competitions throughout the country.

Students at the Bison BEST competition were judged in several ways. The fan favorite is the robot competition. This year, teams were required to build a robot capable of maneuvering an obstacle course while moving objects. Teams also were judged on their oral presentation, engineering journal, table display and spirit and sportsmanship.

Erickson said her class' next task is to raise money for the trip to Arkansas. If you would like to help or have any questions, contact her at herickson@west-fargo.k12.nd.us.