Students travel to robotics competition

Hoping for victory against U.S. teams

Holding their prize-winning remote submersible vehicle, the John Gray robotics team give the thumbs-up before boarding the plane at Owen Roberts Airport, Thursday, on their way to compete in a robotics competition in the U.S. – Photo: Jewel Levy

A team of five John Gray students flew to the United States on Thursday to compete with some of the best American underwater robotics teams.

In March, Jai Dixon-McKenzie, Najae Gordon, John Tatum, Zeb Yanez-Bush and Ethan Stewart, known as the Bolts, won the SeaPerch science and technology challenge to build and operate a remote submersible vehicle. That victory secured them a place in the U.S. competition.

Excited and nervous about the trip to the competition, held at Louisiana State University, Ethan Stewart said, “It’s a good step for our education and puts us a step forward in the electronic world and, hopefully, we will do good.”

All of the Year 10 students getting ready to board the plane Thursday were optimistic about their chances, saying they expected to win, despite having to compete against about 175 from teams from across the U.S.

Teacher Desmond White said the boys have been practicing hard and they are looking forward to the competition.

“We hope they will do their best and achieve success.

“From the activity, the students will enhance their STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] learning. Hopefully, they will come back and motivate others to get involved in stem careers,” he said.

The competition in Cayman was held as the result of a partnership between Maples and Calder and the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association.

Sherice Arman, president of the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association and a lawyer at Maples and Calder, said they are proud to create opportunities for young people in the Cayman Islands, with the SeaPerch Challenge being just one of those opportunities.

She added that more programs like SeaPerch in the future would serve to encourage children’s enthusiasm for STEM careers.