Rising stars recognized

Team members are Austin Evans, Ashlynn Melvin, Clark McClung, Laurel Shugart, Elijah Morgan, Barrett Bible, Emma Crow, Aubrey Evans, and Wesley Edwards.

During the 30th Annual Von Braun Memorial Dinner, the Fort Payne Robotics Team was awarded the prestigious Rising Star Award from the National Space Club.

According to the National Space Club - Huntsville, the organization not only gives funds and support back in scholarships and STEM programs, but they also give out a variety of awards to recognize distinguished individuals or organizations.

Fort Payne city school teacher, Jamie McClung said, “the group impressed the members during a presentation and conversation at last year’s Marshall Space Flight Small Business Association meeting.”

According to McClung, the students discussed their electro-coagulating Washagain invention and winning the FIRST Lego League competition.

As declared in their site, the Rising Star Award is presented to a young person or team reflecting superior performance in the area of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).

McClung said the Von Braun Memorial Dinner is a black-tie event where students and professionals are recognized for their achievements in science, technology, engineering, and math fields.

Previous winners of the Rising Star Award include the Mississippi State University Space Cowboy, The University of Alabama Astrobotics Team, University of Alabama Huntsville Space Hardware Club and this year’s recipient the Fort Payne Middle School Gigawatts Robotics Team.

According to McClung the team received notification regarding their award at the start of the school year. He said their invite was a rare occurrence.

“This is the first time that any secondary school has won the award,” said McClung.

The Gigawatts Robotics team members are Austin Evans, Ashlynn Melvin, Clark McClung, Laurel Shugart, Elijah Morgan, Barrett Bible, Emma Crow, Aubrey Evans, and Wesley Edwards.

This year’s team coaches were Jamie McClung, Regan McClung, and Lori Bible.

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