This has been a year of many great accomplishments for Sooke’s young adults.
I’ve met students who went out of their way to help their community, accomplished athletes ready for a national stage, and countless other gifted young minds who contribute to the overall uniqueness of Sooke.
Which brings me to my favourite stories of 2016: Edward Milne Community School Robotics Club’s achievement in April for blowing away mostly everyone in the Skills Canada robotics competition in Abbotsford. It was close, losing by just one point to Mt. Baker, Wash., though I found that irrelevant, considering what these students really accomplished.
It’s not even the robot that blew my mind (even though it’s a feat of mini-engineering greatness). No, no, it was the realization that a group of high school students, without any qualification or a lifetime of engineering experience, managed to design, construct, program and compete a machine that just months earlier was a messy pile of parts and raw materials.
It’s genuinely impressive to see such bright young minds aspire to such big challenges, because it’s something the world desperately needs now and in the coming years.
The guidance was equally inspiring, which came from Trevor Royle, EMCS’s shop teacher and the robotics team coordinator. Considering what I saw, Royle taught his students to think independently, but also work with one another, especially considering that each student would play her own part in building, programming and operating the robot through its trials.
And I’ll admit, I am a bit of a geek myself, appreciating unorthodox stuff like small mechanisms, how engines work, and of course, robotics.
In my chats with the EMCS robotics crew, I found out that its robot’s chassis was self-designed from the ground up, meaning, if a component broke, it could be replaced and repaired instantly with what they had, rather than waiting for parts from a manufacturer to get it going again. This brilliant engineering idea proved useful in the competition and gave everyone, including Mt. Baker’s students, a run for their money.
Despite their love for the club, not all EMCS’s robotics students want to become engineers, but they’ve set a standard to what can be done if the real hard work and dedication comes into play, regardless of how young or old you are.
Really, whether you like robotics or not, it’s easy to appreciate such young spirit and talent, and makes you feel the future is in good hands.
It certainly did for me.