Thank you to Microsoft for supporting FIRST Robotics Competition! Throughout competition season, we will get to know Microsoft-sponsored teams. This week we profile FIRST team 5672 from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island. Let’s get to know this all First Nations robotics team—and see the progress they’re making this year.
When Wikwemikong High School decided to put a team together in 2014, no one had ever seen a FIRST Robotics event before. But they were excited and ready to learn! And even though everything that could go wrong at first did, the team came together to build a working robot and competed in their first event, surprising themselves and a lot of other people. Since then, Team 5672—a diverse group of mostly female students of Ojibwe, Odawa, Potawatomi, and Cree heritage—have gone on to compete in two district events every year. And every year, they inch closer to the provincial championships. Last year in 2018, they were just three points away!
What kind of progress are they making so far this year?
The team of 21 students have been working hard to design, build, and program their robot in preparation for the DESTINATION: DEEP SPACE competition in Waterloo in March. And we mean working hard. This dedicated group have been pulling some late nights to get their robot right. But they don’t seem to mind! Late night building and coding are all part of the fun.
The team’s mission is also to promote First Nation voice and leadership in STEM. They hope to inspire more First Nations peoples, especially young women, to get involved and work towards careers in STEM.
“We see ourselves as ambassadors, bringing the voice of First Nation youth to the larger conversation of STEM.” —Team 5672, Wikwemikong High School