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Tuesday April 21st, 2015

Posted at 5:34pm

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More than 100 local high school students, mentors and parents from four area high schools are taking a road trip of a lifetime.

The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics teams:  The CK Cyber Pack from Chatham, the Belle River Automatons, the Massey Mustangs, and the Maranatha Infinity, have taken a ten-hour drive to St. Louis Missouri to participate in the World FIRST Robotics competition April 22md to 25.

The event is considered the Olympics of science and technology disciplines, our local high school students will compete against more than 600 teams, with an estimated crowd of more than 30,000 competitors and spectators from throughout North America using their handcrafted robots to execute a number of unique and challenging activities.

“From the time these teams qualified to attend the World Competition, which was only two weeks ago, they have been fundraising, booking hotels, making travel plans and working on their robots,” says Ann Hetherington, Director of Marketing at St. Clair College. “We have been supporting all of the Windsor-Essex teams for the past two years, and this year, with four teams going to the World Competition there was even a greater need for financial support so we are pleased we could help them all.” The College has committed more than $30,000 in financial support to the 14 local teams, including a $2,000 donation to each team who made it to the World competition.

The skills required to compete in FIRST Robotics go beyond programming and building a robot. Business skills such as fundraising, team management, communications including web site building, conducting presentations and more are part of what makes up a strong team. Students from grade 9 – 12 are encouraged to get involved as it strengthens the team from year to year. A number of companies in the community provide financial support or provide mentorship to all of the teams that get involved.

“The idea that it takes a village to raise a child is an apt description of what has taken place in the community to provide our future generation of engineers, entrepreneurs and business leaders with the chance to put their skills to the test in an amazing North American competition,” says Hetherington.

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