CyberKnights Uganda team arriving in Israel

Last year, Kings High School invited students from Beacon of Hope’s robotics team to compete in Seattle, and this year CyberKnights Uganda continued to make history by competing as the first ever East, Central, and West African robotics team to compete at the FIRST Technical Challenge (FTC) level anywhere, in the globe!

In January, the Israeli GreenBlitz robotics team also offered to partner with Beacon of Hope’s in order to compete in Israel early this March. Our CyberKnights Uganda cheered for this momentous opportunity!

The inner workings of a robot

The selection of four boys and four girls for the team was a thorough process. Criteria included a keen interest in and passion for robotics, a lively team spirit, and mastery of at least one of the key department in robotics construction.

Once chosen, team members aging from 14-20 underwent extensive preparations for the competition. They gathered letters of recommendation, organized and promoted robotics campaigns in neighboring schools, and acquired vaccinations and passports. Six out of the eight students who comprised our CyberKnights Uganda team had never competed internationally before, providing the experience of a lifetime.

A few CyberKnights and chaperones sight seeing in Israel

Traveling to Israel was not only an extraordinary example of international travel for our students, but also an opportunity to educate supporting adult coaches on the essentials of international travel: what to do, what to avoid, how to navigate.

Once in Israel, the team never skipped a beat in building and assessing their robot. Accompanied with members of the GreenBlitz team, our CyberKnights were occupied with fine-tuning the robot’s programming, toying with its firing/shooting mechanism, ensuring its mechanical system was supportive, and organizing photos for publicity presentations. Their unwavering perseverance shined through as many challenges arose: rushing to fix a few serious issues the day before competitions began, contesting against two robots instead of just one, and deciphering instructions in Hebrew.

Our team finished mid-pack and was recognized specifically for their high level of skill, stamina, adaptability and professional competitiveness! Way to go CyberKnights Uganda!

The team took the remaining days after the main FTC competition to learn from GreenBlitz about FRC (First Robotics Competition), what it takes to register, and what it means to prepare and participate. The team supported GreenBlitz in preparatory activities for the competition, providing necessary letters of recommendation and helping produce promotional video clips for the team.

CyberKnights hard at work

CyberKnights Uganda provided moral support, helped scout for alliance partners, and cheered the team. They witnessed firsthand the quality and sophistication of FRC level robots, the game’s dynamics, the solid teamwork exhibited by the contestants, and the great involvement of so many people and groups – those that make such a competition possible, like mentors, parents, teachers, volunteers, the private sector, and even the government. Cheering on the GreenBlitz Robotics squad was a learning experience for all the team members.

Two excited CyberKnights, representing Uganda

This significant opportunity became a reality for our students because of your provisions. CyberKnights Uganda would not be possible without our partnerships with King’s High School CyberKnights, the Israeli GreenBlitz, and so many others. We deeply appreciate your support.

Still, our robotics team faces financial obstacles. They have minimal space inside for storage or practice because our classrooms have no room to spare. If you feel compelled to support the brilliant students comprising our CyberKnights Uganda, you may donate here, indicating “robotics” in the donation notes.

More highlights concerning our robotics team and competition will be included in our annual fundraising gala, Jasiri! We will also have a special appearance from a few Beacon of Hope students to share their journey. We hope to see you there!

“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.” –  Ecclesiastes 4:9