Team Jamaica Robotics to represent at the 2019 FIRST Global Challenge

South Florida Caribbean News

Washington, DC – A National Team Jamaica Robotics, comprising high school students, coaches and a chaperone, will travel to Dubai, United Arab Emirates to represent the island at the third edition of the 2019 FIRST Global Challenge.

The Jamaican robotics team will once again go head-to-head with over 150 other teams from across the world in the competition that runs October 24th to 27th at the Coca Cola Arena.

Drawn from Alpha Academy, Immaculate Conception High School, Jamaica College, St. George’s College, and St. Jago High School, the Jamaican team arrives in Dubai on October 21.

The participation of Team Jamaica Robotics is a project that the Union of Jamaican Alumni Associations (USA), Inc. (UJAA) has adopted and sponsored in partnership with the 54 member associations in the northeast USA.

UJAA is responsible for organizing, coordinating and managing the project, as well as interfacing with FIRST Global.

Additionally, Jamaica’s Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has provided substantial resources to assist with travel and housing.

This support enabled three additional students from Calabar, Immaculate and St. Jago to travel as volunteer mentors.

Coached by veteran Jamaica College Old Boys, the coed team trains at the Robotics lab at Jamaica College.

In the inaugural competition in Washington, D.C., in 2017, Team Jamaica placed 45th among more than 160 teams and delivered an outstanding performance in Mexico City last year to finish 15th among over 150 teams, garnering a couple of awards along the way.

Coaches Gavin Samuels and Paul Pounall are confident that the team will be equally successful this year.

The tournament draws on the 14 Grand Challenges of Engineering identified by National Academies of Engineering in the USA, the UK, and China.

The game for the FIRST Global Challenge 2019 — Ocean Opportunities!

Teams will compete and cooperate to clean the ocean of pollutants via processors.

FIRST Global Challenge is an annual international robotics challenge to ignite a passion for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) among the more than two billion youth across the world.

Now in its third year, FIRST Global has once again invited one team from every nation to participate in an event that builds bridges between high school students with different backgrounds, languages, religions, and customs.

Bringing these future STEM leaders together in an engaging and collaborative competition drives home the importance, excitement, and applicability of STEM education.

Reflecting on this global competition, UJAA President, Lesleyann Samuel, an engineer herself, shares the added benefit of this competition: “Aside from not knowing each other, they had language and cultural challenges and, in order to win, the students found ways to collaborate and cooperate for the greater good, connecting technology with terra firma.

This experience can be life-changing, as we expose our children not only to the technical aspects of the challenge,” she said, “but also to the realities of what it takes to solve our global challenges. We cannot teach this in a classroom.”

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