Cayman Islands National Robotics team wins two awards in Dubai

Cayman Compass

Cayman’s national robotics team took home two awards after competing in the FIRST Global Challenge in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, held 25-27 Oct.

The team of 11 students spent weeks preparing for the international meeting of minds.

This year’s competition theme was ‘Ocean Opportunities’, which focussed on the global problem of ocean pollution.

According to a Dart Minds Inspired statement, on Friday, 25 Oct., the Cayman team earned the Mansa Musa Award for Fundraising, due in part to the sportsmanship displayed when they donated a portion of their fundraising efforts to help South Sudan and Djibouti attend the competition.

“Receiving the Mansa Musa Award for Fundraising award was a true testament to the outstanding sportsmanship and professionalism the team displayed in representing the Cayman Islands,” said Glenda McTaggart, Dart senior manager education programmes, in the statement.

“This event was about more than building a robot. It was about building bridges between countries and finding a common ground to solve global problems through STEM,” she added.

Dart’s Minds Inspired worked with the students to design a Cayman Islands-themed robotics T-shirt which they sold to raise money to pay for their trip to Dubai.

“When the team learned about the two African teams struggling to raise enough money to travel to Dubai, the Cayman team gave US$500 to be divided by the two teams,” the statement said.

The second award was the Al-Khwarizmi Award for Outstanding Support.

Aureum Re, CUC, Dart, Digicel and Health City also made it possible for the students to attend the event.

For the competition, the robots each team designed needed to be able to remove 30 micro pollutants and 50 macro pollutants, represented by small and large foam balls, from a playing field.

Before the local team departed for the competition, they showcased their robot, called ‘345’, to local leaders, including Premier Alden McLaughlin.

During each match, the Cayman team was paired with teams from two other countries to form an alliance, making it a truly global challenge, according to a Dart spokesperson.

The countries Team Cayman was paired with included Canada, Bahrain, Luxembourg, China, Hungary and Eswatini (also known as Swaziland).

In the lead-up to the event, the team explored Dubai’s sights, cuisine and culture.

The students, the Dart spokesperson said, went dune bashing and sandboarding, tasted qahwah (Arabic coffee), rode camels and sampled local food.

Cayman team members
Caylem Hill and Jack McGregor (Cayman International School)
Pierce Serrant (Cayman Islands Further Education Centre)
Xaria Deosaran and Adrian Phillips-Hernáez (Cayman Prep and High School)
Craig Maitland and Edmund Pileta (Clifton Hunter High School)
Oscar Martinez (Grace Christian Academy)
Samuel White (John Gray High School)
Kieran Finch and Nilakni Jayasekera (St. Ignatius Catholic School)

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