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Robenedicts are Taking Over...

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Pictured from left to right - Tom O'Malley - Utility Services Manager for Union Gas, St. Ben's students and Robobenedict team members Brianna Coffey and Zachary Laframboise, and teacher and Julianne Falcionni.

February 22, 2013 - What does the St. Benedicts Robotics team know about robots and motors? Since October - a whole lot!

FIRST Robotics Canada have granted St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School with money and a starter kit to begin the first ever robotics team at the school. The team, keenly named Robenedicts by Grade 12 Benjamin Nolan, was formed in October 2012 by teachers Julianne Falconi and John Doyon. There are 30 students that make up Robenedicts, including two sections consisting of engineering and business that the students can choose to focus on. “When we first did a call out to those interested - the number of students interested was overwhelming. The club consists of secondary students, with several Grade 7 and 8’s interested in being part of the team as well,” Falconi said.

“This was something new for us to try as a school,” says Grade 12 team member Christian Bastistelli, “the team has really evolved since we first began.” The group’s first competition is the FIRST Robotics Canada Greater Toronto West Regional competition at the end of March that includes competitors from Singapore and the United States. If Robenedicts move on in the competition, they will advance to nationals where they will encounter oppositions from several countries throughout the world.

Grade 12 teammate Benjamin Nolan affirms that “the team has given us all a head start for university. It has been a great learning experience and even though it has been a lot of work, it also has been a lot of fun." The competition could also help give the students an advantage going into post secondary school, as according to the Union Gas Press Release, the robotics teams from Ontario can qualify for over $16 million in university scholarships. “You are our future leaders, future innovators, and we are very proud to be a part of this process,” says Tom O’Malley, Utilities Manager of Union Gas who was part of the mentoring team supporting the robotics team. O’Malley concluded his presentation with a cheque for $2500 to the team by encouraging the students, “hopefully you’ll kick some robot butt.”

Story by Mackenzie Connelly
St. Benedict Communications Co-op student

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