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The Cayman Islands National Robotics Team heading to the home of the Olympics as FIRST Global launches worldwide campaign to recognise robotics

Education 13 Jun, 2024 Follow News

The 2024 Cayman Islands National Robotics Team with their team manager and coaches.

This year’s Cayman Islands National Robotics Team, which includes representatives from seven local high schools, will travel to Athens, Greece from 26 to 29 September 2024 to compete in this year’s FIRST Global Challenge against teams from 190 countries.

FIRST Global Challenge is an international robotics tournament based on the Olympics, harnessing the power of sports to inspire and excite young people to learn STEM-based skills. The focus is on ‘Cooperatition®’ where teams from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to work together and cooperate to succeed in the competition.

Individual members of the national team first met as competitors in the FIRST Tech Challenge held in Camana Bay last February as part of the interschool robotics initiative run by Dart’s Minds Inspired education programmes. A student from each of the competing schools was then nominated to represent the national team, with two selected from Triple C to bring the total to eight.

The 2024 Cayman Islands National Robotics Team is Garson Gardiner (John Gray High School), Jamie Johnson (Clifton Hunter High School), Aryan Ramsammy (Layman E. Scott High School), Liam Benson (Cayman Prep & High School), Megha Cherayath (St. Ignatius Catholic School), Harry Cowell (Cayman International School), Abe Mohammed and Daeniell Pink (Triple C School).

“Like any team sport, robotics teaches the value of teamwork, communication, time management, practice and the ability to perform under pressure,” said Glenda McTaggart, Dart’s senior manager, education programmes. “Most importantly it is great fun, especially having the opportunity to compete on the international stage where they can pit their wits and apply their STEM skills against teams from all over the world. I fully support FIRST Global’s campaign to have robotics officially declared a sport.”

Feeding the future

The FIRST Global Challenge promotes collaboration between countries, while this year’s theme explores interdependencies between water, food and energy systems and the role of technology in feeding the world sustainably.

Teams are tasked with building a robot that can manoeuvre and complete challenges in an arena that simulates the global food system. They will also participate in the Feeding the Future New Technology Experience to develop innovative solutions for more equitable and resilient food systems.

“Food security is particularly relevant to our team from the Cayman Islands as we rely on imports and are vulnerable to disruptions in the global supply chains,” said McTaggart. “Developing critical-thinking skills and STEM competencies in our young people is an important investment in our future.”

With the support of national robotics coach Desmond White, the team will spend the summer months designing and building their robot from a standard kit of parts. Former members of the national team, who participated in Singapore, Geneva or Dubai in previous years, will also lend their help and advice to this year’s team.

“This is an exciting and excellent opportunity to be a part of something special. Each year, I’m amazed at what our students can accomplish,” said White. “Skills developed in these competitions will help them in other aspects of their lives in an increasingly competitive world.”

The members of the national team are thankful for Aureum Re, CUC, Dart, Digicel, Health City Cayman Islands and KPMG, as without them, this programme would not be possible.

Follow the team’s progress on Minds Inspired’s social media channels or visit mindsinspired.ky for more information about robotics in the Cayman Islands.


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