I look forward to the upcoming academic year teaching Grade 9 and a Grade 11 Robotics courses and with the anticipated return to First Robotics (FRC) competitions. There is much for the team to do both before the kit-and-kickoff on January 8, 2022 and after.

I long ago realized that I cannot do this alone and, with a number of prior team members aging-out as they graduate, it is very much a rebuilding time:

Thankfully, last year’s grade 9 Robotics course allowed a handful of committed enthusiasts to emerge, one with more advanced designing and 3D printing expertise. We can build on that.

I’m hoping that two other not-so-technical mentors will also return. Both are effective team-builders and are very supportive of our students, many with academic, learning and life challenges.

I’ve enlisted the support of a felllow teacher who would focus on the business side of the team’s activities so that I can focus more on the technical. We are still in need of assistance and look forward to a continued relationship with Makeshift Robotics (FRC 4039) and Celt-X (FRC 5406), both from Hamilton.

I intend to reach out to the trades wing of our school with the hope of eliciting their support for the team.

IBM has also stepped in to provide mentoring at two levels: for mentors and team leaders; and for team members.) Though IBM-facilitated mentoring is online (both the mentor and the team are located in different locations in the US) and based on FTC, many of the skills are transferrable to FRC. Besides, we might grow our program to include participation in FTC competitions (whilst mentoring feeder schools) in the future.

This year, I expect the team to do a better job at documenting their work, building a foundation to build capacity into the future. We have learned a lot, even during the frustrating limitations imposed by Covid-controls. Looking forward to a good year and much gracious professionalism.

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