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Cayman’s National Robotics Team gains valuable experience at FIRST Global Challenge in Singapore

Local News 08 Nov, 2023 Follow News

Cayman Islands National Robotics team member, Joshua Williams, waves the national flag as the team is presented during the opening ceremony.

The Cayman Islands National Robotics Team returned home ranked 89th (out of 191 teams) after travelling to Singapore for the 2023 FIRST Global Challenge in early October.

FIRST, or For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is a global organisation focussed on inspiring young people to become science and technology leaders and innovators. Joining the programme in 2018, previous Cayman National Robotics Teams competed in Mexico, Dubai and Switzerland.

This year’s challenge saw participating teams explore the potential of hydrogen as a sustainable energy source through a unique robotics challenge themed “Hydrogen Horizons.”

After four days of intense competition, collaboration and cultural exchange through the formation of alliances with over 20 countries, Team Cayman was part of nine winning matches, with only one lost match. Despite its winning record, the team’s wins did not produce the high scores needed for them to join the winner’s circle.

“Having the opportunity to meet so many people from various places and seeing how they do things in their countries; you learn so much more about robotics and more innovative ways to complete certain tasks. When you’re there and talking to many people where in some cases English isn’t a first or second language you develop a greater sense of patience and understanding to get the most out of your alliances or matches,” said team member Amiyah Tahal, a student at Triple C School.

Sophia Villarin of St. Ignatius Catholic School shared the following about her experience, “I personally gained somewhat of an epiphany; the realisation that what I’ve been given the chance to be a part of is one of the biggest things I’ll ever do. It fills me with pride that I was selected for such an international event, and that we as a team now satand as role models who can demonstrate what the young people of not only the Cayman Islands, but also of the world, can do.”

Recognised as a centre of innovation, the host country of Singapore provided team members with numerous educational experiences, while also creating opportunities for them to immerse themselves in Asian culture. Some of the world’s top universities were present – including Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Yale – providing participants with information about, and insights into future study paths in robotics, mechatronics and mechanical engineering programmes.

Members of Team Cayman’s 2023 team were students from six public and private local high schools: Maxwell Clarke, Cayman International School; Joshua Williams, Cayman Prep & High School; Garrison French, Clifton Hunter High School; Isaiah Myles, John Gray High School; Sophia Villarin, St. Ignatius Catholic School; Amiyah Tahal, Triple C School; Coach Desmond White from John Gray High School and Team Manager Glenda McTaggart from Dart accompanied the students to Singapore.

The Cayman Islands National Robotics Team is part of Dart’s Minds Inspired initiative and is supported by Aureum Re, CUC, Digicel, Health City Cayman Islands, KMPG and Dart. Minds Inspired uses innovative and exciting programmes, activities and awards to encourage Cayman’s youth to embrace STEM subjects. It features an annual calendar of activities and events that promote and encourage STEM education in Cayman. For more information about the programme, visit https://mindsinspired.ky/about .

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