There is nothing mechanical about these young whizzes with robots.
Grace Christian School in Charlottetown unleashed a group of students on recent robotics competitions who were enthusiastic and animated.
Five Grade 8 students competed against 29 other teams recently in the First Lego League Challenge – a worldwide competition billed as “the most accessible, guided, global robotics competition, helping students and teachers to build a better future together".
The junior high GCS team nabbed second overall in the Maritimes championships, earning an invitation to the FIRST LEGO League LEGOLAND Open International in Carlsbad, California in May.
One day later, two senior high teams from Grace Christian made their mark in the Robofest’s Maritimes Championship taking home gold and silver in the 18-team Bottlesumo competition.
GCS was also awarded the 2019/2020 Acadia University Outstanding Coach Award.
Competitive in sports and academics, 18-year-old Danielle LeBlanc was thrilled to be on the senior team that placed first.
“I don’t like to lose,’’ says LeBlanc, who was quick to add the victory was a collective effort.
“Our team was really good at communicating.’’
Jordan Ellis, who coached all three GCS teams, lauds the efforts of the students in spending roughly five months of determined head-scratching and intense problem-solving to prepare for the competitions.
“They follow the engineering process … they didn’t give up,’’ says Ellis.
“They figured out ways to solve (problems).’’
Junior team member Lucas Nguyen, 14, says Grace Christian School puts plenty of emphasis on team work.
The school also seems to develop students who set a high academic bar.
Lucas, who moved to P.E.I. from Vietnam in 2019, wants to be an aerospace engineer and a mechanical engineer.
His lofty career goal is to reduce carbon monoxide “to save the planet".
As for the upcoming international robotics competition in California, junior team member Stephanie Ye, 13, is licking her chops.
“I think it’s going to be a great experience for all of us … to be able to compete in the worlds,’’ she says.
“I think that is really amazing.’’
Grade 8 student Ashley Doan, another member of the GCS junior team, says a strong showing in the international competition in May would be a huge honour for her school.
“We really don’t want to lose,’’ she says.