By Irek Kusmierczyk
Two-hundred-and-fifty grade school students on twenty-four teams competed in the FIRST Lego League (FLL) Windsor Regional at St. Clair College.
Students competed by building and programming autonomous Lego robots that navigate an obstacle course. They also made presentations to a panel of judges on this year’s themed challenge, which is to redesign the way we gather knowledge and skills in the 21st century.
The annual tournament is organized by Windsor Essex FIRST Robotics in partnership with St. Clair College and WEtech Alliance and has almost tripled in size from the previous year.
“We fully expect to grow from 24 teams to 34 teams by next year,” said Larry Koscielski, a Senior Engineer at Centerline – a global manufacturing company in Windsor-Essex, which sponsors and mentors two FLL teams.
The Southwestern Ontario Industry Education Council (SWOIEC) presented a check to Windsor-Essex FIRST Robotics for $30,000, which will be dispensed over five years to support the annual FLL tournament as well as the annual Windsor-Essex Great Lakes Robotics Regional, which will draw 50 teams and 2,000 students from across North America to the University of Windsor during April 1-4, 2015.
“This will fulfill our mandate of enhancing workforce development in our community and the promotion of the skilled trades.” says Roni Riberdy, Program Manager for SWOIEC.
FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. Over two-hundred-and-fifty-thousand grade school students participate in FLL worldwide while another 30,000 participate in the high school FRC tournament.
Three-thousand companies—including half of all FORTUNE 500 companies such as Boeing, Bombardier, Chrysler and Google—support FIRST because the program excels at directing young people into science, technology, engineering and mathematics – the so-called STEM fields—which are critical for supporting a knowledge economy.
“WEtech Alliance is committed to building a talent pipeline in the technology sector,” says President Yvonne Pilon. “We understand that cultivating a workforce for the 21st century begins in grade school and high school”.
For more information on how to get involved in FIRST Robotics contact:
Dr. Irek Kusmierczyk, PhD
Director of Robotics and Youth Programs