Dr Safeeya Mohammed
The Holy Name Convent (HNC) Robotics Team made their school proud when they won the Rising Stars award at the recently concluded “First Lego League Superpowered Competition”. The overall winners of the competition were Trinity College, but not even this could dampen the spirits of the HNC young ladies who were the highest placing girls’ team in the competition–third overall–and winning an award for the team to watch in the future.
“The school’s first robotics team emerged in 2018 when Information Technology (IT) teacher Mr Andre Charles invited students to get involved in a programme spearheaded by First Lego League, an international partnership of companies, foundations, and ministries geared towards engaging young people in leadership and innovation in science and technology,” Lisette Khan, principal of Holy Name Convent Port-of-Spain said.
This year a group of roughly eight volunteers researched the theme chosen by the event organisers, effective energy production use and conservation, and then devised and executed the project.
They received a custom-designed Lego field with multiple mandatory tasks. Their job was to build and programme a robot to complete the set tasks efficiently and autonomously in two minutes and 30 seconds.
The activities were geared at inculcating a passion for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
“It is vital that young women see themselves as innovators and creators and develop the requisite critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed for advancement in this information age. Our girls’ involvement in the robotics club is aligned with the school’s vision of producing empowered women ready to take up leadership in this 21st century of rapid change,” Khan emphasised.
Girls also bring a special energy to the STEM fields and robotics, in particular, their IT teacher, Mr Charles, shared.
“Girls often take time to add flair and style to their work which is not always present in pure robotics. This tends to bring a human element to it that bridges the gap between users and machines.
“There is a high level of gratification that comes from programming and the girls are always proud of their robot, to the point they refer to the robots by name; Toby and Dimitri.”
The success of the HNC robotics team follows the school’s success in other extra-curricular activities such as football, cricket, basketball, swimming, and hockey–all areas in which the young ladies have won titles in the 2022-2023 academic year. The school also recently concluded its successful art exhibition, showcasing the talents of its students who have repeatedly topped the region in Art and Design.
A beaming Khan also shared, “The robotics team adds further variety to the diverse activities of a school committed to the holistic development of its students. It is hoped that these young women can marry the deep spiritual values of their school with cutting-edge knowledge and skills to keep humanising advances in science for the good of all.”