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Province helps local robotics team fund trip to St. Louis

The provincial government is stepping in to assist a local school’s robotics team with the cost of travel and accommodations for an international competition next month.

The St. Francis Robo Dogs team is made up of nine students from grades 6 to 8 and two staff sponsors. Members are, from left, Norm Littlejohn, Mitchell Peach, Kyla Mercer, Madison Squires, Abigail Squires, Kiera Legge, Hope Finlayson, Katie Shute, Emma Mercer, Emily Galway and Randy Dobbin.

St. Francis School earned the right to attend the F.I.R.S.T World Festival International Robotics Competition in St. Louis, Missouri, after it claimed gold last December at the Skills Canada Intermediate Challenge in St. John’s.

Officials with the Harbour Grace school’s team previously told The Compass it would likely cost $20,000 for the Robo Dogs to attend the international competition. The team includes nine students and two mentors.

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Now the Department of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development is covering just over half of the sum — $10,900. Families and fundraising activities will cover the remaining funds needed to attend the event.

“This team has been recognized provincially, nationally, and internationally for the success of its projects and its leadership,” noted minister Darin King in a news release. “The St. Francis robotics program is fostering a culture of youth innovation and entrepreneurial spirit in this school and the community, and I am very pleased to support this initiative.”

The competition in St. Louis takes place April 22-25. The robotics program at St. Francis was established in 2002 has earned 10 gold medals in 12 years of Skills Canada Intermediate Challenge events.

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