SCHOOL: SA sends robotics team to US challenge

Five highly talented high school learners have been selected to represent South Africa at the FIRST Global Challenge.

The “SpringBots” come from a very diverse background and bring to the team a wealth of academic knowledge, cultural learning and tremendous team spirit.

These learners have a passion for Stem (science, technology, engineering, and maths) and plan on changing the world for the better. The challenge is an international robotics event at which more than 150 nations across the world participate.

Participating teams are composed of students – aged 14 through 18 years – with the common goal of increasing their knowledge of Stem so that they can become the next generation of scientific leaders who will work together to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems, from food security and access to clean water, to finding better medicines and securing cyberspace.

At the recent challenge last year, 164 countries came together in Washington DC, US, focusing on access to clean water.

This year’s challenge in Mexico City, US, is on energy impact, both topics very relevant to South Africa as well as the world.

The team:

  • Dzanga Matodzi
  • Masana Phumudzo Mashapha
  • Tshenolo Mokwana
  • Barbara Moagi
  • Mikhaeel Reddy

Dzanga, a grade 9 learner at Hoërskool Uitsig, would like to use this opportunity to gain as much knowledge as possible, adapt to the different surroundings that she will be in and build networks. She aspires to be a leader in the graphic designing field.

Masana, a grade 10 learner at Pretoria Girls High is also a member of the Pretoria Girls High robotics club. She would like to use her learnings from the challenge to assist benefit the medical field in South Africa. She aspires to become a leader in the medical field.

Tshenolo, a grade 11 learner at Olievenhoutbosch Secondary School, feels that the experience gained and opportunity to work with robotics will allow him to better himself into a position to rid his family and community of poverty. He would also like to change the perspective of maths in his community, by persuading learners to take maths as a life subject. Tshenolo has a dream to study neurology at the University of Oxford.

Barbara, a Hoërskool Uitsig grade 12 learner, head girl, white honorary blazer recipient and SpringBots spokesperson. Barbara represented Team SA to the 2017 challenge. She would like her career to form a part of contributing to the eminent pool of female pioneers like Mary Jackson and Marie Curie and become one of the many catalysts to encourage young girls and women everywhere to join the fascinating and highly revolutionary field of Stem.

Mikhaeel Reddy is a Hoërskool Uitsig grade 12 learner, head boy, white honorary blazer recipient and SpringBots captain.

Mikhaeel represented South Africa at the 2017 challenge.

He aspires to be an engineer bound by no field.

He feels honoured to once again be among the youngest and brightest students from over 157 countries and believes that this generation by working together can solve these crisis’s we face; water, energy, poverty, economic downturn.

The team has already been receiving tremendous support from many sources, including private individuals as well as their community towards making this Robotics Competition a reality for them.

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