School News

JC robotics team first to access new Digicel roaming plans

Kareem LaTouche, Youthlink Coordinator

A group of 11 students from Jamaica College (JC) who were ranked best at building their own robot, travelled to the United States of America (USA) to compete against their peers from across the world. JC won the local leg of the inaugural FIRST Tech Challenge National Robotics Championships in March, emerging ahead of other top high schools.

They qualified for the space-themed FIRST Tech Challenge World Championships, dubbed ‘Rover Ruckus’, which was held in Houston, Texas, from April 17-20. The JC boys were part of a larger group vying for the prestigious Inspire Award, which provides opportunities for them to secure scholarships from local and international universities.

Members of JC’s winning team received smartphones, courtesy of Digicel, and were also among the first to be signed up for the company’s new ‘Roam Easy’ plans, now available in over 60 countries. The plan features lower call rates, free incoming calls, generous allotments of bundled minutes, and up to one gigabyte of data. When in Texas, the students and their teachers were able to make and receive calls, and send photos and videos to friends and family back home.

Prior to their trip, Public Relations and Communications Manager for Digicel Elon Parkinson said, “We are proud to be supporting Jamaica’s young innovation ambassadors and we wish them all the best as they compete against some of the brightest minds from across the world. Being able to stay connected and to share their journey in Houston is very important to the team members, and we are happy to that our new roaming plans give them the right amount of minutes and megabytes to do so.” Adding to that, and thanking Digicel, principal of Jamaica College Wayne Robinson shared, “It’s a good fit and Digicel has been a good technology partner to us. Giving the boys access and phones means that even while they’re on the road travelling, they can use mobile data to send back all the lovely pictures.”

As Jamaica’s digital lifestyle partner, Digicel is also focused on expanding opportunities for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning in schools across Jamaica.

The company recently hosted students from St George’s College and Immaculate Conception High School for a live streaming of Research Day from Durham College in Ontario, Canada – rated as one of Canada’s leading tertiary-level institutions for applied research that helps to develop practical, technology solutions for real-world problems.

Prior to this, the Digicel Foundation opened its latest renovated science lab at St Catherine High School.

There’s an incredible amount of local talent poised to do great things. With this in mind, Digicel’s mission is to support the development of Jamaica’s next generation of innovators who will be pivotal to the transition to becoming a digitally connected society.

The young JC engineers were tasked with building a robot that would navigate a playing field, while moving objects from one place to the next within a specified period of time. They also had to make a full presentation to judges on how they moved from idea to prototype. JC’s battery-powered robot, controlled by smartphones and on-board sensors, was able to mimic how space robots move objects from one location to another, at times on their own.

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