The East York Collegiate Institute (EYCI) robotics team, along with their robot “Long Tall Sally,” took part in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Greater Toronto East Regional in Mississauga this spring and made it to the semi-finals.
Grade 9-12 students made up the team of eight members who dedicated almost two months creating and bringing to life Long Tall Sally.
Chris Perivolaris is the teacher advisor for the cybernetics team. He has been teaching at East York Collegiate for six years, and says being part of a team dynamic and in robotics can be beneficial in many ways.
“Robotics is an engagement strategy for kids to learn, and they are learning by doing which is the best form of learning. It lets them experience math and science concepts live and in colour, so they can see the direct result of the ideas they have created and learned in school,” he said.
The premise of the competition was based around a game where the robot had to hang pieces on a high structure. The idea of the game was organized and released to the team early in the year and it was then that the team had six weeks to build the robot — and now is the time to compete.
“I’m very proud of the students,” Perivolaris said. “We had one of the smallest teams in the regional, we got completed on the robot and it was considered the best student-built robot,” he said.
Grade 12 student Shawn Zivontsis put in a lot of time and energy to make Long Tall Sally the best it could be.
“The thing about robotics is that it a composes every single field. It has mechanical design manufacturing, computer programming, and if you’re interested in anything related to do with technology or even business management, I think robotics has something for you in it,” Zivontsis said.
The team did their best, but in the end Governor Simcoe Secondary School in St. Catharines took home the championship.
“It felt very nice to make it to the semi-finals. I had a feeling we would do it. This is one of the best, if not the best robot we have produced. The team that eliminated us from St. Catharines is one of the world’s best teams, so that says a lot as well,” Zivontsis said.
Perivolaris and his gang are determined to win next year’s competition, which will be held in St. Louis, Missouri.
“This whole competition shows that East York can pull together a team and do well. This was our best achievement ever, and hopefully next year we will be able to take it onto the championship,” he said.