Local FIRST Robotics teams compete on the international stage

Teams from Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School and Manitoulin Secondary School are competing in the World Robotics Championships in Houston, Texas from April 18 to 23, 2023. Lo-Ellen Robotics 4069 and Manitoulin Metal 6865 qualified for the international event by capturing top honours at the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Ontario Provincial Championships held in Hamilton from April 5 to 8, 2023.

Rainbow District School Board commended both schools on their exceptional achievement. “Having an opportunity to compete with the best robotics teams in the world is quite an honour,” said Chair Bob Clement. “It speaks volumes about the teams, their vision, their creativity and their skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”

Director of Education Bruce Bourget congratulated the students, teachers and members of both teams and acknowledged the sponsors who support their efforts. “The energy and enthusiasm for robotics in our schools is stronger than ever thanks to engaged students, exceptional programs, inspiring educators and mentors, and community partnerships.”

Lo-Ellen Robotics 4069 enjoyed its best ever performance, placing third in the provincial playoffs after five rounds. The team is currently ranked 18th in Canada and remains in the 92nd percentile world-wide. Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School last earned the privilege of competing internationally in 2014, where they placed 53rd.

Manitoulin Secondary School qualified for the World Robotics Championships by winning the highest overall award at the provincial competition. Many aspects of the team’s work were considered for the Impact Award, including the robot, engineering, business plan, vision, communication, and safety. The award acknowledges the team’s impact on the school, community, STEM, and FIRST Robotics. Manitoulin Metal 6865 has been working towards becoming an environmentally sustainable and carbon-neutral FIRST team. Their robot is affectionately known as Bumblebee.

Lo-Ellen Robotics encourages collaboration and fosters an innovative mindset. Students have opportunities to learn skills by talking and tinkering. Aligned with the vision of FIRST, students and community develop skills and reflect the values of the school’s Engineering Design and Innovative Technology (EDIT) program. The program offers classes for students in Grades 7 to 12, including the Specialist High Skills Major in Robotics.

The FIRST Robotics program provides many opportunities for students in design, fabrication, programming, problem-solving, networking, and business, with real-world applications. Participating on a world calibre robotics team enriches students, develops future leaders, and showcases transferable skills.

Both teams have reached out to elementary schools to engage younger students in coding and robotics, while promoting the exciting opportunities that await students in the STEM sector in secondary school. Robotics participants are not only mentored, they also serve as mentors for the next generation of thinkers and tinkerers.

Lo-Ellen Robotics (4069) includes students Deep Mahida, Erin Kottick, Amanda Syncox, Teagan Bradley, Madison Huntington, Kate Rantala, Gabriella Falcioni, Soham Passi, Lane Boyuk, Peter Xiong, Edward Xiong, Henry Xiong, Annika Matusch, Leticia Da Silva, Kush Patel, Chloe Gagnon, Kate Brett, Julia Da Silva, Annie Sarvas, David Langley, Ethan Kinnonen, Tiago Ferreira, Nathan Audette, Owen Dobson, Nathaniel Willock, Simon Boeckner, Brianna Smith, Roan Rilkoff, Alex Fu and Ahmed Abdel-Dayem and mentors Daniel Monti, Robert Gruhl, Colin Roos, Stephen MacKenzie, Quinn Roos, Arion Skakoon, Kayla Robin and Tyler Smith.

Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School thanks Title Sponsors Lopes Ltd, Ionic Mechatronics, Manitoulin Transport and J&J Minerals; Platinum Sponsors CCM Group, Equipment North, Hard-Line Solutions, GM Canada, Duplicators Copy + Print, Coniston Industrial Park (CIP) and Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School Gold Sponsors 3rd Line Studio, Hatch, Specialist High Skills Major Program, FIRST Robotics Canada and SRK Consulting.

Manitoulin Metal Robotics (6865) includes students Addy Gray, Nevaeh Harper, Samuel Pennings, Ben Willis, Kyle Zembal, Xavi Mara, Ryan Kuntsi, Jocelyn Kuntsi, Kyra Carpenter, Garrett Charbonneau, Tanner Graham, Morgan Green, Ryann Moore, Alan Wilkin, Darwin Wood, Daphne Carr, Patrick McCann, Alexis McVey, Alex Wilson-Zegil, Robyn-Ashley McNaughton and Faer O’Leary and mentors Yana Bauer, Michael Zegil, Caroline Black, Andrew Argall, Scott Willis and Glenn Zembal.

Manitoulin Secondary School thanks its season sponsors: McMaster Engineering, Manitoulin Transport, Ontario Power Generation, 3M, Onesemi, Enbridge, RBC Wealth Management, Argosy, Township of Billings, Dairy Farmers of Ontario, McCann Concrete, Henderson Electrical, JA Rolston, Foresters Insurance, Steele’s Home Hardware, Orr’s Valumart, Pat Noble Lumber, and Island Promotional Products.

Both schools acknowledge friends, family, businesses, townships, organizations, and service clubs who are supporting their school’s journey to Houston.

What will the industrial-sized robots be doing at the World Robotics Championships?
The international competition will be similar to the provincial event.

In CHARGED UP presented by Haas, teams are inspired to see the potential of energy storage in a new light as they compete to charge up their communities. Two competing alliances retrieve game pieces from substations and score them into the grid. Human players provide the game pieces to the robots from the substations. In the final moments of each match, alliance robots race to dock or engage with their charge station.

Here is a match from Provincials to watch 4069 in action: https://youtu.be/DBUWeIhiSV8

Each match begins with a 15-second autonomous period, during which alliance robots operate only on pre-programmed instructions to score points by leaving their community, retrieving and scoring game pieces onto the grid, and docking on or engaging with their charge station.

In the final two minutes and 15 seconds of the match, drivers take control of the robots and earn points by continuing to retrieve and score their game pieces onto the grid and docking on or engaging with their charge station.

The alliance with the highest score at the end of the match wins.

In addition to the match competitions, Manitoulin Metal will be competing for the World Championship Impact Award.

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