Ready for Robotics Challenge

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Two new teams are ready to battle for a title of a different sort at St. Mary’s College (SMC) later this month.

The St. Mary’s College robotics teams, Knights and Bolts and Team Global Power, formed this year with the assistance of teacher mentors, Eugene Pagliaro and Gabriella Wieczor. They will be taking part in the VEX Robotics Competition set for Saturday, December 12, 2015 at Sault College.

DSC_0149-1“This is very exciting for the students who have signed up for the Robotics Club. They’re very enthusiastic about this venture and determined to put in a great effort to make the school proud,” said Pagliaro.

The SMC teams boast fifteen members from Grades 9 through 12. The teams will be developing and building prototypes, programming robots and running tests to ensure they are successful in the competition.

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Gabriella Rodriguez is a member of the Knights and Bolts team. The Grade 11 student was surprised at how many girls were in the Robotics Club and how challenging the competition is.
“When we first started, we knew absolutely nothing so building the robot was a big challenge. Once we got building it, getting the physics right, the speed, torque, those types of things, those are quite difficult challenges. We’re still working on it but I’m confident we’ll do well in the competition.”

Grade 13 student, Nicholas Cimino, is part of Team Global Power. He signed up for the Robotics Club as soon as it was formed.

“I’m really into computers and wanted to get some experience learning how to program so I thought being on this team would be a good chance to learn about programming. Once I started, I realized there was a lot of building involved, so then I thought it would be great to learn some hands-on skills, use some tools, meet some new people and once I started it, I loved it!”

IMG_2300Both Rodriguez and Cimino are excited and anxious as the competition date draws near. They, along with their teammates, spend much of their lunch periods and any other spare time working on their robots. The determination and dedication of the students has made an impression on their teacher mentors.

“We hoped that starting this club would give students who are looking for a challenge beyond the classroom an opportunity to represent their school in another style of competition other than athletics. These students have embraced this initiative even more than we had hoped,” said Wieczor.

The VEX Robotics Competition at Sault College is a regional qualifier for the 2016 Ontario Provincials VEX Championship. Up to four of the nineteen teams entered will move on to the provincial event in St. Catharines in March.