Goodwood College robotics team heads to America

Aimee and Cleo Adriaan are ready to explore robotics in America.

Two sisters from Goodwood College are among 10 pupils who will be jetting off to America to show off their robotics skills in December.

Aimee and Cleo Adriaan, of Bishop Lavis, belong to Syre, a robotics team at their high school made up of pupils from Grades 9 to 12.

The sisters and their teammates were selected to compete in the First Tech Challenge in July, but could not take part in the competition due to financial reasons.

The team will now visit New York, Washington DC and New Jersey in December and will compete against the Passaic High School robotics team in New Jersey.

While in America, they will take part in an educational robotics tour at NASA and an animation course to learn about the importance of animation and gaming in the 21st century.

Cleo, 17, is the head girl at Goodwood College and captain of the robotics team. The matric pupil said she would like to be a software developer one day.

“I was always interested in the robotics field. At the end of 2020, the Sakhikamva Foundation came to our school to implement a whole project on robotics,” Cleo said. “That’s when I saw the opportunity to further my knowledge on robotics and aviation as a whole.”

“Last year, my sister joined the high school and also decided to join the team,” she said.

Aimee, 14, is a Grade 9 pupil who forms part of the Syre social media and outreach department.

“We go and spread what we do at churches and different schools,” Aimee said.

Both sisters said they were excited to learn more about robotics abroad and to network with other pupils. They are also looking forward to seeing snow.

Their mother, Yolande Adriaan, said she was thrilled for her daughters. “They are making us so proud,” she said.

The sisters are mentored, coached and sponsored by the Sakhikamva Foundation, which also gives them equipment, tools and safety gear.

“Robotics has become a very important element of the 21st century, including skills such as coding, strategy, collaboration, and 21st century leadership and problem solving,” said Fatima Jakoet, Sakhikamva Foundation founder.

“We need to make robotics accessible to everyone. Supporting our children and giving them an opportunity to visit or qualify for an international competition and explore robotics in another country just opens their eyes and gives them an invaluable experience in meeting other teams and networking,” Ms Jakoet said.

Sakhikamva promotes 21st century skills development in the youth.

“We currently have a very strong presence in the robotics competition circuit with eight First Tech challenge teams, 10 First Lego teams and eight teams entered into the World Robot Olympiad,” she said.

The team is split into a business team and an engineering team.

The business team members are required to host outreach programmes at their school and in their communities; spread information about robotics, science, technology, engineering and maths; hold fund-raisers; and compile an engineering notebook and a design portfolio.

The engineering team focuses on the strategy, design, coding and programming of the robot.

“With the fourth industrial revolution and the fifth industrial revolution approaching our children need to think differently about their future development and future careers, and this is empowering them with the necessary skills to identify that and go into a direction they normally wouldn’t have thought of,” Ms Jakoet said.

The Adriaan family started a Go Get Funding campaign and have been holding various events to raise money to cover additional expenses for the trip. They will have a boerewors roll sale on Friday December 1.