The Atikokan High School Voyageurs’ robotics team competed March 3-4 at Durham College in Oshawa in a competition sponsored by FIRST Robotics.
The team, comprised of Grade 12 student Eiji Moller and ninth-grader Keira Cameron, placed a respectable 26th out of 38 teams.
This was their rookie year, having only started working on their robot design in January.
“We were pretty impressed with our results,” said Cameron.
“It’s a lot of fun but it’s a very mental sport,” she noted.
The FIRST Robotics competition is deemed the ultimate Sport for the MindTM, where imagination and innovation come together.
By combining the excitement of sport and beauty of art with the rigours of science and technology, the teams of high school students were challenged to design, build, and program robots to perform tasks against a field of competitors.
“When we were getting ready to start, I had such a feeling of success looking at what we had made and accomplished in a very short time,” said Moller, who was inspired by the robotics competition to pursue a future in electrical engineering.
Graeme Bond, the Technological Studies teacher, mentored the team while E.A. Susan Hayes chaperoned the trip.
“The students learned a lot about programming, but also about camaraderie and sportsmanship,” Bond noted.
“It was a competition but they also got a lot of help from other teams.
“Everyone there was on the same wavelength,” he added.
“It was not about winning at all costs but lifting each other up to the highest quality.”
Bond hopes to build the robotics program at AHS-perhaps even seeing it become a credit through the manufacturing program.
He also hopes the new consolidated school will include the space needed to grow the robotics program.
The AHS robotics team received support from Mike Cameron and another local community member, FIRST Robotics, the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, and the Rainy River District School Board.
The team will be competing in a second competition at Ryerson University on March 16-17 with team members Moller and Nathan Rusnick.