MONTGOMERY, Alabama (November 24, 2015) – The Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) held their National Championship Finals on Saturday, November 14th. The national competition included 27 teams from 26 states and one territory.

The fourth-year reigning Alabama RWDC champions, “The Fort Payne Seven”, from Fort Payne High School, placed second in the national challenge out of 19 teams. The team is made up of seven team member that include: Reagan Anderson (Senior), Joshua Johnston (Senior), Emma Simpson (Junior), Hunter Terry (Senior), Hunter Vezertzis (Senior), Matthew Wilding (Senior), and Noah Wofford (Junior).

“Alabama students continue to succeed at the highest levels regarding STEM Education. The Fort Payne Seven team continues to improve each year in this prestigious national competition with a strong second place finish this year. I am very proud that Alabama students consistently excel in the classroom and rank at the top nationally and internationally in science and aerospace competitions,” said Lt. Governor Kay Ivey.

Real World Design Challenge is an annual competition for students, grades 9-12th, giving them the opportunity to work on real world engineering challenges in a team environment. This year’s competition focused on unmanned systems and precision agriculture through the design and implementation of an Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) to support precision agriculture, specifically the targeted and efficient application of pesticide to control local crop predation. The teams were judged on engineering design notebooks that contained detailed 80 page reports of their technical work and results, and a presentation of their designed unmanned system and a business case before a panel of judges.

“I am proud of the students more than anything. They have put so much hard work into the challenge. These are hardworking, intelligent, top students in our nation and are definitely deserving of this honor,” said Hannah Turner, The Fort Payne Seven’s coach.

STEM Education in Alabama focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Alabama students are continually making advances in these areas that will make a difference for our world for years to come.