Team captain Zachary Laframboise said it has taken a lot of hard work, but their pyramid-climbing Frisbee-throwing 'bot is ready for competition.
“I knew it would be a lot of hard work, but I didn't think it would be this much,” said the Grade 12 student. In the coming weeks, Laframboise and his team will be competing at the regional FIRST Robotics competition coming up in Mississauga.
Julianne Falconi, a physics teacher at St. Ben's has been guiding the team. She said she is looking forward to bringing the 30-member team to its first competition.
“It's really for the students to expose them to careers,” she said.
Through the process of building and marketing a robot, students from grades 9 to 12 developed problem-solving skills, critical-thinking abilities and team-work experience.
“We have a wonderful group of very gifted students,” she said. “It will be a good experience for everyone.”
Union Gas has supported the team through a cash donation, as well as mentorship provided by Tom O'Malley, utility services manager.
“We wish these guys all the best,” O'Malley said. “Being a mentor over the last month and a half, I've seen how hard they work.”
Laframboise said his crew, which is made of both building and business students, has put in “lots” of hours. Some days, students would be at school until 8 p.m., pulling together the final project. They'd even spend weekends working on the robot.
Competition regulations require the robot be bagged prior to competition so students can no longer work on it; however, they were allowed to keep parts of it out for further development.
Laframboise said his crew would be enhancing the robot's ability to throw a Frisbee from now until the competition.
For more information on FIRST Robotics, visit firstroboticscanada.org.