Students from New Directions Alternative Education Center participate in the Northern Virginia Regional SeaPerch Challenge in 2010. (Photo: Prince William County Public Schools)

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – Student innovation and scientific skill will be on parade when Prince William County Public Schools hosts this year’s National SeaPerch Challenge underwater robotics competition, set for Thursday in Manassas Park.

Student teams will place their remotely operated vehicles (ROV) into a pool and compete in two underwater challenges, including obstacle courses and contests on recovery, maneuvering, and collaboration. Building and designing ROVs incorporates engineering concepts, problem solving, teamwork, and technical applications.

ROVs have many real-world uses, including in military and civilian search and rescue operations, such as earthquakes, oil spills, and shipwrecks.

As many as 400 students in 66 teams and their coaches will converge on the pool deck in the Manassas Park Community Center, at 99 Adams Street in Manassas Park, to participate. The event will be streamed Thursday live on the web.

The following six high school teams from PWCS qualified at the Regional SeaPerch Challenge to participate in the National challenge: two teams from Gar-Field High School under the direction of coach Greg Quast; one team from New Directions Alternative Education Center under the direction of coaches Matthew Grimsley and Justin Goultrey; two teams from Patriot High School under the direction of coach Josh Labrie; and one team from Stonewall Jackson High School under the direction of coach Stanley “Joe” Jaksic.

The excitement begins on Wednesday, April 11 with a welcome party for those teams traveling from as far away as Hawaii. Following an opening ceremony on April 12, the teams will present their design philosophy and construction challenges and answer questions from the judges. The technical competition events will take place in the pool.

-Press release

Students from Stonewall Jackson Senior High School participate in the Northern Virginia Regional SeaPerch Challenge in 2010. (Photo: Prince William County Public Schools)

Students from Stonewall Jackson Senior High School participate in the Northern Virginia Regional SeaPerch Challenge in 2010. (Photo: Prince William County Public Schools)