September 30, 2020

Cyber Rays Robotics Team win at First Lego League World Invitational Tournament in Lakeland, FL


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The Cayman Prep High School robotics team, and the only Robotics team in the Cayman Islands, the Cyber Rays, returned recently from Lakeland, FL, where they competed in the First Lego League World Invitational tournament.  The tournament, held between May 3-6, 2012, included 64 teams from the around the globe including several from the USA, and teams from Bermuda, Israel, Japan, France, Puerto Rico, Germany, Colombia, and South Africa to name just a few.  The Cyber Rays, comprising Josh Martin, Michael Boucher, Nick Crawshaw, Ryan Kirkaldy, Drew Milgate, Samantha Smellie, and Aideen Teeling, and joined by head coach Alison Smith and mentors David Kirkaldy and Jeff Boucher, competed well over the course of the two day event, which included 5 robot runs, technical evaluation, project presentation, and Core Values interviews.

The Cayman Prep High School robotics team

The team and a group of parents, and Ms. Sheila Purdom, headmaster of Cayman Prep High School, were on hand on Sunday morning May 6, 2012, at Legoland, FL, for the prize giving ceremony at which time the Cyber Rays were pleased to learn that their efforts resulted in placing 2nd overall in the Presentation Award for Effective Communication. This award, gained in the final international event of the FLL season, places Cayman’s own Cyber Rays at the top of the world rankings and has gained much international publicity for our islands.  The team has consistently improved, and this time scored its highest table robot run ever with an impressive 174 points.

“What an exhausting yet exhilarating few days,” commented Janet Crawshaw, parent of Nick.  “The success of the Cyber Rays has exceeded our wildest expectations and we are so proud of what they have accomplished for themselves, their school and the Cayman Islands.”  Mentor Jeff Boucher added, “Having been with the kids on four separate tournaments, we have seen first-hand the incredible opportunities the First Lego League provides them.  This is more than learning robotics.  These kids learn to think like scientists and engineers, while building interpersonal and presentation skills, and learning about team dynamics, research and time management, fairness and honesty, and over an event like the FLL World Invitational, performing well under immense pressure.”  Another parent, Marcia Milgate, added, “we were highly impressed with the integrity and maturity shown by our team, as well as, the good natured competition and fellowship shared by everyone attending the tournament.  It truly was a meeting of the minds, ideas and cultures.  The innovative ideas and projects have inspired not only our team, but everyone who had the chance to observe them.”

The representative from NASA said it best. “FLL is about learning to be the best that you can be and know that there are no limits to the solutions that you can realize in this world for the challenges that we face.  Even if the children do not pursue engineering and science, they learn to strive for excellence in all that they accomplish.”Head Coach Ms Allison Smith added, “We were never sure how far we would get as a rookie team but we were determine to do our best.  I am happy to say that doing our best has proven that we are capable of international success. I am very proud of the growth and development that each team member has demonstrated throughout the season. What we learn will always be more important to us that what we win.”

This event was the culmination of a real dream season for the rookie team from Cayman with important wins at the qualifying event in Clearwater, FL, in early January, and then at the regional tournament in Tampa, FL, in late January, and most recently the Florida State Championship in Melbourne, FL, that earned the team with the invitation to the World Invitational event.  On every trip the team has promoted the Cayman Islands with prominent display of our flag in all events and handing out Cayman Islands trading pins kindly provided by the Department of Tourism.

The team is already looking forward to the next season of FLL robotics competition which starts in the fall school term and will be centered around the theme of senior citizens entitled “Senior Solutions. Independent. Engaged. Connected.”

In 1998, FIRST Founder Dean Kamen and the LEGO Group’s Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen joined forces to create FIRST LEGO League (FLL), a powerful programme that engages children in playful and meaningful learning while helping them discover the fun in science and technology through the FIRST experience. Dean and Kjeld have a shared belief that FLL inspires teams to research, build, and experiment, and by doing so, they live the entire process of creating ideas, solving problems, and overcoming obstacles, while gaining confidence in their abilities to positively use technology.

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