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FIRST Robotics in Windsor-Essex awards five bursaries for local students


The Windsor-Essex chapter of FIRST Robotics in Ontario has named five local high school graduates as recipients of $1,000 bursaries.

The annual bursaries are named in honour of James Broom and Spencer James – a student and mentor of FIRST Robotics teams at Maranatha Christian Academy and Belle River High School respectively – who passed away in 2014.

“It was incredible to witness the resilience of our local teams this year as they participated in virtual competitions that challenged them in ways no one could expect,” says Larry Koscielski, VP of process and technology development at CenterLine and chair of Windsor-Essex FIRST Robotics.

“These five graduating students stood out as the cream of the crop. We wish them well and they continue their studies and trust that FIRST has prepared them for their journey.”

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The bursary recipients and their post-secondary schools of choice are:

  • Emily Archambeault, Sandwich Secondary School (SabreBytes Team 772), University of Windsor, Biological Sciences
  • Andrea Bareich, Sandwich Secondary School (SabreBytes Team 772), University of Waterloo, Chemical Engineering with Co-op
  • Finley Booth, St. Anne Catholic High School (SainsBots Team 4688), University of Waterloo, Mechatronics Engineering
  • Sean O’Neil, Sandwich Secondary School (SabreBytes Team 772), University of Windsor, Communication, Media and Film
  • Jenna Reaume, Essex District High School (Build A Dream Amazon Warriors Team 6875), University of Waterloo, Life Sciences

The FIRST Robotics competition is an international robotics program where high school students work alongside teachers and professional mentors to design and build 120-pound robots. The “game” the robots compete in changes every year, and is only announced six weeks before the competitions begin.

Before the pandemic there were 17 high school and 48 grade school robotics teams competing in Windsor-Essex and Kent counties. Nine high school teams and 20 grade school teams were involved in FIRST in the area this year.

Windsor is also home to the Windsor Essex Great Lakes District (WEGLD) Event, which draws 1,500 high school students from across North America annually to compete at the University of Windsor’s St. Denis Centre. Due to COVID-19, this year’s Windsor Essex Great Lakes District Event was cancelled.