Manitoulin Secondary robotics team looks to host conference this summer

Jocelyn Kuntsi

MANITOULIN—While she didn’t win the World Championship Dean’s List Award, after having won the Dean’s List Award at the First Robotics provincial championship, Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) Manitoulin Metal Team Robotics team Jocelyn Kuntsi  and her teammates and coaches are moving forward on activities and projects they have planned this summer.

As has been previously reported, Ms. Kunsti had been named as the winner of the Dean’s List Award at the provincial robotics championship held in April. This qualified her for the world championship in this category, held in Houston, Texas April 22.

The MSS team had nominated Ms. Kuntsi for the award, recognizing her demonstrated excellent leadership skills and outstanding contributions to the team and having done well in the judges’ interviews (held virtually).

Ms. Kuntsi represented the district of Ontario at the world championships in which she participated through Zoom. “It was more than I had expected, just qualifying for the worlds,” she told The Expositor. “It was amazing to see and hear the atmosphere at the worlds. Most representatives attended the event in person and to be able to meet people in chats online from other districts, as well as with industry leaders, was amazing.”

“I didn’t win, but it was really cool to be a part of the competition and represent Ontario,” Ms. Kuntsi told The Expositor. “I didn’t even expect to get this far.”

“I’m not sure exactly how many students were taking part, but there were two from every district in the world, so maybe 50,” she said. “In talking to many of them it is easy to see they are all amazing leaders in their communities and that all have fantastic projects. It was inspiring.”

Ms. Kuntsi said the MSS team, after competing in the provincials in April, indicated that they had other projects and activities up their sleeves with which to stay busy during the off-season. “One of the things our team is going to do is hold an environment, science, technology, engineering and math (E-STEM) conference this summer. We have invited all the teams from the provincial championship to come to Manitoulin Island in mid-August for this conference. One of the things we will be looking at is challenges being faced in the environment.”

“We all know Manitoulin Island is beautiful, so we figure we can get students from other schools involved and we are hoping more environmentally-focussed businesses will come out and representatives will speak at this one-day conference. We are also hopeful local community members will come out with their kids and take part,”

“As part of the conference, our team would make a presentation,” said Ms. Kuntsi, pointing out that at competitions where the MSS team has participated, they have become known as the environmental sustainability team.

The MSS team is also looking to take part in an event at the annual Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Toronto in August. “They have a competition at the CNE, but it is a lot more relaxed than an event like the provincials,” said Ms. Kuntsi. “We could do some different challenges with our robot, and could involve members of team, who haven’t had the chance, to drive the robot. This competition would be for fun.”

“Our team is also hoping to visit elementary schools on the Island before the end of the school year to bring our robots in and show and describe how they work and what they do,” said Ms. Kuntsi. “And, we are hoping that by doing this, it would get students from grade four and on interested in taking part in our conference in August. Hopefully it would also spur on elementary schools to have First Leggo team in competitions next year.”