MUSCLE SHOALS - Northwest-Shoals Community College hosted students and parents from 14 area schools for a drive-in movie event recently to kick off the 2020 Northwest Alabama BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) Robotics season on the Shoals campus.

The theme for this year’s competition is Outbreak 2020 - Adjusting to the threat. This year’s competition will take place in a classroom format where students compete virtually. Due to the pandemic, Outbreak Classroom has been instituted by the national BEST Robotics organization to tackle the needs of the students through live streaming. As the situation with the COVID-19 virus changes, the classroom program allows teams to work locally together in group sizes and locations that they determine. However, students will still design, build, test, and compete with their robots.

 According to Kim Sheppard, Co-Hub Director for NW Alabama BEST Robotics, over 100 students and parents attended the kickoff event.

Northwest Alabama BEST Robotics teams picked up their robotics kits for competition. Kits included video equipment to aid each team in live-streaming from their respective schools. Wi-Fi hotspots will be available through NW-SCC to competing schools during competition week, November 16- 20, 2020.

 Northwest Alabama BEST Robotics is a workforce development partnership between the Shoals Chamber of Commerce and Northwest-Shoals Community College. Each fall over 850 middle and high schools and over 18,000 students participate in the competition nationwide. For more information, visit