FIRST Robotics Competition Wraps Another Successful Year

More than 2,500 people packed the St. Denis Centre to see robots duke-it-out over the weekend.

The sixth annual Windsor Essex Great Lakes District First Robotics Competition has been declared a success by Event Chair Larry Koscielski. Close to 1,500 students representing 40-teams from across Ontario assembled 120-lbs robots to perform a series of tasks at the University of Windsor's St. Denis Centre.

Koscielski says professional engineers, programmers, skilled trade workers and entrepreneurs help mentor competitors — many of which were once competitors too.

He says it's amazing to see kids developed and wind up guiding a whole new generation through the event.

"Three or four years of the FIRST program in high school and then also going on to mentor teams later on, they go to the top of the pile of resumes, it's that powerful," he says. "A lot of these kids will tell you that FIRST changed their lives; it's just that impactful for these kids."

Koscielski says seeing students find their passion is the most important part of the program.

"Whether it's mechanical, electrical, website design, communications, accounting, it doesn't matter, if they connect with something a get passionate about it, if we light just a little bit of a spark and just see it turn into a huge flame," says Koscielski.

Simbotics of St Catharines, The Big Bang from Mississauga and Machine Mavericks from Kingston won their divisions.

Teams are competed for spots in the provincial and world championships.