After stellar performances at the regional SeaPerch Challenge in March, the John Gray Aqua Lasers and Layman E. Scott Brac Bots recently represented the Cayman Islands at the 2019 International SeaPerch Challenge in College Park, Maryland.

For both teams, the 2019 tournament marked their second time competing at the international level. The Brac Bots came in fourth overall in the High School Division and the Aqua Lasers came in eleventh place overall in the Middle School Division.

Dart Senior Manager Education Programmes Glenda McTaggart says both teams should be proud of their accomplishments at the international competition.

“These incredible results are testament to the time and effort the Brac Bots and Aqua Lasers put into designing, constructing and testing their underwater Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs),” she says. “The level of competition was extremely high and they rose to the challenge.”

Similar to the regional competition held in Grand Cayman, the International Challenge includes three events that are combined for the overall score: Obstacle Course, Rescue and Recovery Mission, and Engineering Notebook.

The Brac Bots stood out in the Rescue and Recovery Mission, taking second place.

Aqua Lasers Coach Desmond White says the high level of competition pushed the students to do their best.

“Our Cayman teams have risen to the occasion and have proven that we are not just ‘showing up’ but are there to compete,” he says. “This is a true testament to the quality of our local competition and I believe the performances this year will serve as added motivation for all our local schools which will no doubt further strengthen our performance at both the local and international competitions going forward.”

Following the competition, the teams spent the day exploring the museums and monuments of nearby Washington, D.C.

As Brac Bots Coach, Michael Bryan says he sees the benefits of STEM firsthand.

“As a school, we look forward to the continued enrichment of our kids through this STEM program,” he says. “We have seen the value of the programme and will continue to work with the students in the future in order to help them achieve better results.”

Presented annually by Dart Minds Inspired in collaboration with Maples Group, Women’s International Shipping and Trade Association (WISTA) and the London & Amsterdam Trust Company, the Cayman Islands SeaPerch Challenge is a hands-on integration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with applications both inside and outside of the classroom.

Maples Group Partner Sherice Arman says the organisation is proud to continue its support of the SeaPerch Challenge.

“It is fantastic to be part of this important initiative that helps students in our community explore and engage in STEM activities,” she says. “The response to this year's competition was brilliant and we congratulate and commend all those who participated in this year's challenge.”