Wiikwemkoong High School teams fare very well at robotics competition

The all-Wiikwemkoong Alliance team won their first match at the FIRST Robotics competition last weekend. The team included from left, Stella Flamand, Shawna Shawanda, Mercedes Aibens and Grace Pitawanakwat. Grace, the lone member of the Wiikwemkoong High School team 22845, won the judges’ award.

WIIKWEMKOONG—Three Wiikwemkoong High School (WHS) teams did very well in their very first robotics competition this past weekend.

“Our three teams had a really good showing,” stated Chris Mara, lead mentor for Wiikwemkoong High School Robotics. “They are all rookies and this was the first tournament for all of them. No one had been at a robotics competition before.”

Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School hosted POWERPLAY, A First Tech-Challenge qualifier on December 3.

The full-day tournament-style competition, presented by Raytheon Technologies, brought together 20 teams from across the province including seven from Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School, two from Lively District Secondary School, as well as teams from North Bay, Wiikwemkoong, Bruce County and the Greater Toronto Area.

Students, staff, alumni, community partners, and members of FIRST Robotics Canada, including President Dave Ellis, was in attendance
Mr. Mara explained, “Team 22845 only had one member, Grace Pitawanakwat, who won the judges’ award. “And their first match of the day allowed for an alliance between two Wiky teams, Team 22845, Grace Pitawanakwat and Team 19552, Shawna Shawanda, Stella Flamand and Mercedes Aibens. This team won their first match.”

The third Wikwemkoong entry, team 19555, included Tryce Francis, Aidan Leedham and Zander Shawongonabe.

Through FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competitions, deemed by participants as the ‘hardest fun you’ll ever have,’ students engaged in innovation and idea sharing in the areas of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Students also honed important life skills such as cooperation, communication, self-confidence, teamwork and leadership.

For POWERPLAY, teams are tasked to design, build, program and operate robots in head-to-head challenges. Each team consists of two driver operators, a human player, a coach and robot.

To earn points, robots must place coloured cones on various-sized junctions throughout a 12-foot square playing field. Points are allotted, based on the number of cones properly positioned and the size of the junction. Teams can also earn extra points with special tasks.
Judges interview teams and present awards in various categories.

“The FIRST Robotics Challenge is a great opportunity for students to showcase the tremendous skills they are developing,” said Rainbow District School Board director of education Bruce Bourget. “We are very grateful to the staff, organizers, mentors and sponsors and we extend best wishes to all teams.”