Students Compete for Robotic Domination in North Bay

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Both 1305 and 5807 qualified for the Worlds in St Louis. 5807 via wild card and 1305 by winning the engineering inspiration award.

It was a battle of the ‘bots’ at Nipissing University on Friday and Saturday as teams of high school students from Ontario, Quebec and New York competed in the 2016 North Bay Regional FIRST Robotics Competition.

After the two days of intense competition, Team 1305, nicknamed Ice Cubed, finished 3rd while Team 5807, CANbotics, ranked ninth out of 32 teams.

Under strict rules, the high-tech teams had six weeks to build and program the remote-controlled robots. The students controlled the competing robots through a course with both offensive and defensive strategies.

The students had volunteer mentors guiding them through the process that included raising funds, designing a team brand, and performing community outreach all as a team. Team 1305 Captain Benjamin Reevie says students taking part of the competition actively promote STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in our community.

Nipissing — Timiskaming MP Anthony Rota and Mayor Al McDonald co-chaired the 3rd annual ‘superbowl’ of robotics event.  Mayor McDonald says it is a wonderful opportunity to show how great our city is. “This regional robotics competition enables us to showcase our city to over 1,000 students that will go on to university, college and build businesses. From an economic perspective, the spin offs for local businesses and hotels on a usually quiet weekend for tourists‎ is very helpful.

“I believe in this program and have watched these students grow over the past five years. These students will be future scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and business leaders. I want them to see what we have to offer here in our city.”

1305 is a local team of 40 people that has been competing in the event for 14 years. They build and meet at Canadore College.  Mentor Bryan Kelso says students range from grade 8 to grade 12.

“We travelled to Oshawa to compete and we will be going to Windsor. We are hoping to qualify to go to the World’s in St. Louis.” Kelso added that some former team mates are now in college and helping as mentors in the competition.

Team presenter Harikesh Panchal says it is his first year on the team. The West Ferris Secondary School student takes care of the business side of things. “I understand financials now and I can write essays and speak in public. Overall, it has been really nice to be on this team and part of FIRST.”

North Bay based team 5807 — Ontario Power Generation / Atlas Copco / FIRST Rookie Grant / FIRST Canada & CANbotics Community Robotics — won as a Regional Finalist, Wildcard, Highest Rookie Seed and the Rookie Inspiration Award by National Instruments.

Team 1305 –Canadore College/ Nipissing University/ PEO North Bay Chapter/ Near North District School Board & NNSRI — won the Regional Engineering Inspiration Award. The FIRST Dean’s List Finalist Award  went to 1305’s Jessica Kelso.

Woodie Flowers Finalist Award went to 1305’s Nancy Dewar-Stenning for her volunteer efforts in the regional event.

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