The first ever East Africa FTC Robotics team, CyberKnights Uganda, is in the Emerald City this week preparing to compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge this Saturday, November 19th from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. at King’s High School in North Seattle. This team, from Beacon of Hope, a branch of Seattle-based nonprofit Pilgrim Africa, is about to make world history by spreading FIRST Robotics to an entirely new region. The Ugandan team is partnered with and mentored by CyberKnights 4911, the robotics team from King’s High School. Along with this challenge, CyberKnights Uganda plans to compete this year in Israel in hopes of making it to the world championship.
For the past three years, CyberKnights members from King’s High School had the privilege of travelling to Uganda for annual outreach trips. They journeyed to the Beacon of Hope school to work with and mentor their partners in Uganda, working alongside them in building robots.
Tammy Nguyen, who travelled to Uganda with the Cyberknights this past June, commented on her experience with the Ugandan team: “Every day when I got into their lab, I could feel the same passion and dedication like what we had in our lab at King’s. They never stopped working on the problems and making things better, even after the class was over. I guess that’s just how we CyberKnights are, no matter if we’re from Seattle or Uganda.”
Beacon of Hope is utilizing robotics as an enjoyable yet educational activity throughout East Africa. Participants, whether students or mentors, learn engineering skills, gain experience with real world problem solving, and learn about different cultures from across the world. CyberKnights Uganda is planning to pursue their dreams and participate in a FIRST Tech Challenge competition here in Seattle.
King’s CyberKnights have made it a goal to bring hope and opportunity to others through robotics. In addition to working with Beacon of Hope, the King’s CyberKnights have also travelled to Vietnam, Israel, and Los Angeles to inspire others through STEM. They also started Unified Robotics, a program that utilizes robotics to bring opportunity to high school students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and/or intellectual disabilities. King’s is now partnering with Special Olympics of Washington to build this program.
Mikel Thompson, head coach of the CyberKnights 4911, commented on the team’s experience in Uganda: “Our work in Uganda helped inspire a vision and passion for using our skills and talents to help others.”
To learn more or to schedule an interview, contact Mikel Thompson at [email protected] or Dorothy Echodu at [email protected] or go to www.cyberknights4911.com, or www.kingsschools.org. Donations to CyberKnights Uganda can be made at https://pilgrimafrica.dntly.com/campaign/cyberknights-uganda#/.