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Northern students compete at FIRST Robotics competition in Sudbury

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Students from across the north put their science and technology skills and knowledge to the test Saturday in Sudbury, competing in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge qualifier.

Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School hosted the event for the second year in a row.

In the past three months, 16 teams from five schools designed and built robots. Grade 11 Lo-Ellen Park student Elizabeth Korczak is a student leader who oversaw her team’s efforts on their robot.

“The best part of (the robot) is our arm,” said Korczak.

“That’s what actually picks up the pixels and places it on the backdrop. Our arm extends and retracts, and it has wheels on the front of it that pick up the game piece and places it on the board.”

Dan Monti, tournament director and teacher at Lo-Ellen, said there are a number of skills the students develop throughout the three months as they prepare for the competition.

“The students are dedicated,” Monti said.

“It’s almost like a full-time job after school and in class building these robots for three months. The work ethics and engagement through FIRST is always top-notch.”

The northeastern Ontario tournament is just one of several competitions taking place across the country this month.

Students from across the north put their science and technology skills and knowledge to the test Saturday in Sudbury, competing in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge qualifier. (Angela Gemmill/CTV News)

“I was a FIRST alumni myself,” said Lisa Ramraj, program manager for FIRST Robotics.

“I could definitely see the difference between myself and my peers once I went into post-secondary. The skills these kids are learning is applicable to all parts of life.”

Korczak said participating in the robotics challenge will help set her up for success.

“I did a lot of work on the business side this year of reaching out to sponsors and just promoting our team,” she said.

“That can help me in a lot of difference pathways. Then you just learn a lot of teamwork and time management -- just a lot of important basic skills you can apply anywhere. I just think it’s going to help set me up for the future.”

The top three teams from Saturday will advance to the provincial championship early next year. 

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