W.A.F.F.L.E.S. wins division, named 5th best robotics alliance at World Championships

Photo via W.A.F.F.L.E.S.

W.A.F.F.L.E.S. Community Robotics has returned home after an extraordinary performance at the 2024 FIRST Robotics World Championship in Houston, Texas, last week.

Each year, the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition (FRC) releases a challenge, and the W.A.F.F.L.E.S team designs and builds a robot to compete in the championships. This year, the students took the six weeks to build their 125-pound robot. With the guidance of mentors, students put in thousands of hours of work designing, machining, assembling and programming their robot, according to a release from the organization.

The team of 23 local students represented Canada as they competed against 600 teams from more than 30 different countries between April 17 and 21, 2024.

At the FIRST Ontario Provincial Championship, held April 3 to 6, W.A.F.F.L.E.S. FRC Team 4476 won their division and won the FIRST Impact Award. This performance earned them an invitation to the World Championships in Houston, Texas, when they ranked 4th overall in Ontario.

According to the release, this season marked a pinnacle in the team’s journey, as they “soared to unprecedented heights, surpassed their pre-season expectations and left an indelible mark on the global stage of the FIRST Robotics Competition.” The team’s exceptional performance solidified their status as one of Canada’s best robotics teams, the organization stated.

“As a team, we set our goals to be competitive at the world level, but it’s one thing to make a goal and another to reach it. I’m so proud of the team and the effort they have put in over the last several months to get us to this point. Stepping onto the world stage and representing Canada was a surreal feeling and it still hasn’t fully sunk in yet,” said Brennan Bibic, W.A.F.F.L.E.S. Community Robotics.

The organizations said the journey to success began with the team’s outstanding performance in the Curie Division at the World Championship, where they emerged as the 8th seed alliance (joining together with teams from New Jersey, Minnesota and Massachusetts). With determination and skill, W.A.F.F.L.E.S. and their alliance partners secured a remarkable upset victory in the division, securing a win, and propelling them to the finals bracket of the World Championship.

“It was amazing working with our alliance partners, team 2590 Nemesis, 7028 Binary Battalion and 190 Gompei and the H.E.R.D. We had to coordinate strategies and communicate really well to be successful. Without such great partners, a win would not have been possible,” said Sebastien, a grade 9 student and robot driver.

In a display of “resilience and tenacity”, W.A.F.F.L.E.S. and their partners competed valiantly in the finals bracket, ultimately achieving the distinction of being the 5th best alliance in the world, the organization detailed. This remarkable feat not only showcased the team’s technical prowess but also highlighted their spirit of collaboration and sportsmanship on the global stage.

“Winning our division was the ultimate payoff in this robotics season. Seeing the hours of hard work from the team payoff in a win that caught the world off-guard was really satisfying, and the team was able to live up to its potential this season. I think however that this is just a glimpse of the future for W.A.F.F.L.E.S. as we continue to grow and become a more competitive team,” said Kenneth, a grade 11 design student.

Reflecting on the team presenting for the Impact Award, the most prestigious award in FIRST, Ibrahim Ahmad, student and Team Captain, remarked, “Presenting at Worlds was an amazing experience that taught me the true essence of impact. While it was a bit rough by our standards, it made me realize FIRST is not just about the competition, it’s about the lives we touch and the community we build. Through W.A.F.F.L.E.S. I’ve learned that whether it’s through our educational programs or our partnership with Canadian Blood Services, every action has the power to create a ripple effect of positive change, shown by the powerful testimonies of the over 10,000 people we reach annually through our demos and workshops. So, I invite you to witness this impact firsthand and join us at Science Rendezvous on May 11th, 2024.”

According to the release, W.A.F.F.L.E.S. FRC Team 4476 could not have achieved this success without the generous contributions of their Platinum level sponsors; Kingston Community Health Centres, BGC South East, and Novelis; Gold level sponsors; Pure Ingenuity and TC Energy, our Silver level sponsors; Caicos Beach Villa and Smith Engineering, as well as many other companies and local businesses.

Those interested in becoming a sponsor or supporter, are asked to reach out to the organization. More information can be found on the W.A.F.F.L.E.S. Community Robotics website: www.wafflesrobotics.com, or by emailing [email protected]. Information on FIRST and all of its robotics programs can is available at www.firstinspires.com.

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