Governor Simcoe's robotics team not taking any breaks

It's March break, but beyond the locked doors of Governor Simcoe Secondary School is a robotics team that doesn't believe in weeks off.

The Simbotics, who are 20 students from Grades 9 to 12 (plus one eighth grader), have several tournaments ahead after taking gold at a Chicago robotics championship. The biggest date in their future: the world championship in Georgia in April.

"They're (at the school) right now," Catherine McNamara, a General Motors employee and team mentor, said Tuesday. "They practise pretty much every day."

The Simbotics, a.k.a. Team 1114, clawed their way to victory Feb. 28 at the midwest regional of the (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition.

Armed with a travelling cheering squad, the team competed at a game loosely based on NASCAR. It won its eighth regional championship in six years.

Next up is the University of Waterloo for the Waterloo regional championship March 20-22, then Mississauga's Hershey Centre March 27-29 for Toronto regionals.

But the world championships in Atlanta April 18-20, a prize that has always escaped them, is the one they really want, McNamara said.

"We live in a world where Wayne Gretzkys are heroes," she said. "We want a world where scientists and engineers are heroes too."

Eighty-five per cent of Simbotics alumni study a related skill at university, she said.