Three students from different local schools represented the Cayman Islands well when they competed in the FIRST Global International Robotics Challenge on Aug. 16-18 in Mexico City, Mexico.
The 2018 Cayman Islands Robotics team included Cayman Prep & High School student Adrian Phillips-Hernaez, 14; St. Ignatius Catholic School student Ethan Cronier, 16; and Cayman International School student Joe Allom-Perez, 16. The three students were selected based on their grades and commitment to STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — subjects, as well as their passion for engineering, mechanics and robotics.
Team Cayman Islands ranked 23rd out of 161 participating teams overall in points scored, and 101st in match play. The participating teams each represented a different country or territory in the world. Team Cayman Islands completed eight matches, each two minutes and 30 seconds long, where they guided their robot — which they made themselves and named “The Kracken” — through a series of tasks related to energy production.
The students were accompanied to the competition by St. Ignatius Catholic School physics teacher Von Ryan Abrantes, who served as technical advisor, and Dart Education Programmes Manager Glenda McTaggart. Dart’s Minds Inspired sponsored the Cayman Islands Robotics Team.
“I am very proud of the team’s hard work as they designed, built and programmed an exceptional robot in just over a month,” said McTaggart. “They dedicated a significant portion of their summer vacation to perfecting their robot and practising the competition manoeuvres, all while still getting to know each other.”
Team member Phillips-Hernaez called the challenge “an amazing eye-opening experience that allowed us to embrace new cultures, people and ideas.”
“This will have a lifelong effect on me, as it taught me how to collaborate with people I don’t know, as well as it enabled me to make great friends here and overseas,” he said. “The FIRST Global robotics competition was a memorable event for STEM enthusiasts, especially those who are willing to take part in the challenge of making a better world where science knows no borders.”
McTaggart called the three students “great ambassadors for the Cayman Islands during the competition” and said she was thrilled to see some of the country’s brightest young minds compete in Mexico.
“Dart is committed to STEM education through our Minds Inspired programmes and events, and supports FIRST Global’s mission to inspire science and technology leadership and innovation in young people,” she said, adding that it is anticipated that the Minds Inspired programme will hold a local robotics competition to select the team to participate in next year’s FIRST Global International Robotics Challenge.