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Kincardine declared
a FIRST community

By Liz Dadson

www.kincardinetimes.com

Kincardine council

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Mentors Joel Courtney (L) and Lillian Watterworth (R) join Kinetic Knights robotics team members, Alex Pagnan, Darby Watterworth and Kush Joshi, at the Kincardine council meeting last night (Aug. 6), urging council to declare Kincardine a FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) community

Kincardine has been declared a FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) community.

In committee-of-the-whole last night (Aug. 6), three members of the Kinetic Knights robotics team (FRC Team 781) and two of their mentors came to Kincardine council, urging the municipality be recognized as a FIRST community.

Mentor Lillian Watterworth said this recognition means Kincardine is a community that supports building leaders in science, technology, engineering and math in its youth.

FIRST was founded in 1989 and locally, there are three groups:

  • First Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 781 - Grades 9-12 - 55 members
  • FIRST Lego League (FLL) - Grades 4-8 - 55 members
  • Junior FLL - Kindergarten to Grade 3 - 35 members

Watterworth said the Kinetic Knights Team 781 did exceptionally well in the 2014 season, winning the Chairman's Award at the Greater Toronto East (Oshawa) regional which qualified the team to go to the world robotics competition in St. Louis, Missouri, where it reached the quarter-finals.

The team also had a Dean's List finalist (Darby Watterworth), won the entrepreneurship award at the Waterloo regional, won the judges award at the Windsor regional, and hosted the first FLL qualifying tournament in Kincardine.

In addition, the Kinetic Knights help out in the community, bringing their robot for demonstrations at a variety of events, such as the Cruise Nights in downtown Kincardine, assisting with highway clean-up and tree-planting, and presenting engineering inspiration awards to a deserving student at each of the local Grade 8 graduations.

The concept of FIRST communities was established in Canada and currently, there are only three in existence: Oakville, Oshawa and North Bay, said Watterworth. "We would like Kincardine to be in the top five!"

The team asked council to declare Kincardine a FIRST community and put up signs at the entrance to the municipality, recognizing this.

Kush Joshi, Darby Watterworth and Alex Pagnan, members of the administrative and awards part of the team, gave an updated version of the Chairman's Award presentation, accompanied by the related video the team produced for this award.

The Kinetic Knights were formed in 2001, and have overcome numerous challenges on their road to success. They are the first-ever FRC team to become a registered charity. 

 


They have also established a five-year plan - the Bluewater Robotics Initiative - encouraging involvement in FRC, FLL and Junior FLL teams throughout the Bluewater District.

Councillor Jacqueline Faubert suggested all three young people would be strong candidates to run for council in the Oct. 27 election.

"We have to give them a few years yet," said Watterworth.

Committee-of-the-whole endorsed a resolution, declaring Kincardine a FIRST community, and agreed to post signs at the entrances to the municipality to that effect.

That recommendation was later approved by council.

Liz Dadson


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