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Brac robots continue to rule the pool at SeaPerch Challenge

Local News 23 Mar, 2023 Follow News

SeaPerch 2023 Overall winners were Mikayla Bryan and Chiquita Ritch from Layman E. Scott High School pictured with tournament sponsors from Cayman Islands Shipping Registry, Dart and Women’s International Shipping and Trade Association

Teams navigate the underwater courses with remote operated vehicles at the Camana Bay pool

Twenty teams from six schools took part in the SeaPerch Challenge

For the second year running, a team from Layman E. Scott High School are overall winners of the SeaPerch Challenge where 21 teams from six schools participated in an underwater robotics challenge at the Camana Bay pool on Saturday 18 March.

The ‘Fast and Furious’ all-girl team of Mikayla Bryan and Chiquita Ritch dominated the leaders board with a lightning-fast time on the underwater obstacle course. They showed equal skill and control navigating the mission course, simulating tasks that a remotely operated vehicle would do in real life.

A team from Cayman Brac also won the middle school division, with Nathaniel Tibbetts and William Bodden of the Robo Unicorns taking first place. Using kits supplied by SeaPerch International, teams had to design, build and operate robots to complete the courses set up in each corner of the pool.

Michael Bryan, who teaches Design & Technology at Layman Scott and coaches the robotics team alongside science teacher Kevin Bryan, said, “As a school, we continue to embrace the opportunity to expose our students to STEM education through the SeaPerch competition. Our students are made aware of the value of commitment and discipline in order for them to fully grasp what the programme has to offer. The success of the school is as a result of hours of practice, support from coaches and school administration, and unwavering support from parents.”

Teams from John Gray High School challenged the reigning champions by securing second place in both high school and middle school divisions. Rookie of the Year award went to a team from First Baptist School who were first time contenders at SeaPerch. St Ignatius scooped the team spirit award for their enthusiasm, determination, and sportsmanship, even in the face of mechanical issues.

This year’s Ocean Exploration theme was developed in partnership with the Ocean Explorative Cooperative Institute and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).  The mission course was designed to mirror tasks performed by marine scientists mapping the ocean floor.  As remote operating vehicles frequently encounter sea creatures and other obstacles, teams had to move plastic objects resembling octopus and starfish to complete the course.

The Engineering Design & Innovation Award is given to a team that has the best design solution for a specific component of the game. John Gray’s Mako Sharks team of Zander Puthillath and Donovan Blackman-Richards won the award this year for their innovative use of a plastic container that could hold water and allowed them to adjust water levels to control buoyancy of their ROV.

“Robotics encourages students to apply scientific and mathematical skills learned in the classroom to real life problems,” said Glenda McTaggart, Dart’s senior manager of education programmes who runs SeaPerch Challenge as part of the Minds Inspired programme of STEM-focused events for young people in the Cayman Islands. “Learning how to design, build and operate a robot equips young people for the jobs of the future.”

Now in its tenth year, SeaPerch is sponsored by Dart, the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry, a division of the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands, and the Women’s International Shipping and Trade Association.

Schools competing in this year’s competition were Layman E. Scott High School, John Gray High School, Clifton Hunter High School, St Ignatius Catholic School, Cayman International School and First Baptist Christian School.

The full results for the SeaPerch Challenge 2023 are as follows:

Overall Winner:

Fast and Furious - Layman E. Scott High School, Mikayla Bryan and Chiquita Ritch

High School Division:

1. Fast and Furious – Layman E. Scott High School, Mikayla Bryan and Chiquita Ritch

2. Megalodons – John Gray High School, Harold Gonzalez-Valdes and Jaydon Williams

3. Big Hammers – Layman E. Scott High School, Smith Bautista and Tyrese Scott

Middle School Division:

1. Robo Unicorns – Layman E. Scott High School, Nathaniel Tibbetts and William Bodden

2. Purple Octopus – John Gray High School, Emily Hansraj and Joshua Malcolm

3. Brac Bots – Layman E. Scott High School, Deanna Watson and Angelina Scott

Team Spirt Award:

St. Ignatius Catholic School

Rookie Team Award:

Neptune – First Baptist Christian School, Isaiah Hammad, Saffirah Cardenas, Hannah Suckoo

Engineering Design & Innovation Award:

Mako Sharks – John Gray High School, Zander Puthillath and Donovan Blackman-Richards

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