Skip to content

Aurora all-girls robotics team victorious at international contest

'They were stellar'; French school squad Équipe Francobotique wins first place at 80-team competition in First Lego League
The Aurora-based robots team Équipe Francobotique came first in an 80-team international competition May 18-21.

After four years of competing together in robotics, the Aurora-based French school team Équipe Francobotique reached the top. 

When all was said and done at the international First Lego League Razobark Open Invitational in Arkranas May 18 to 21, the Aurora team received a standing ovation from the 79 other teams from around the globe. Équipe Francobotique came home with a first place win.

“Ecstatic would be the best word for it,” coach Renée Northrup said. “I was very surprised and incredibly proud of the students and all the work they had accomplished. They represented their schools, their towns, Ontario, and certainly Canada, very well.”

The all-girls team earned top placing at the contest featuring champion teams from 12 countries. Équipe Francobotique, which includes one Newmarket resident, is made up of French school students from grades 5 to 8, including members from both École élémentaire catholique Saint-Jean and École intermédiaire catholique Renaissance. The team earned a place at the international competition through a successful run through provincials. 

The squad had a perfect score during the robotics portion of the Arkansas competition. Northrup said they are also judged on elements such as engineering, an innovation project, as well as on values like inclusivity and teamwork.

“A large part of it is their teamwork and also just their grit. They’ve been working hard since September,” Northrup said. “They were stellar. They supported each other, they cheered on other teams, they cheered on each other.” 

Praise for the team came in from throughout Aurora and York Region.

“Congratulations to Équipe Francobotique,” Aurora Mayor Tom Mrakas said on Facebook. “All of Aurora is proud!”

The school board Conseil scolaire catholique MaonAvenir said it “is so proud of your journey, determination and success!”

The team had to gather thousands in sponsorships to pay for the trip, which Northrup said the students worked hard for, including offering to spend weeks teaching robotics to other students through workshops. 

Accounting firm Marcil Lavallée said it was proud to sponsor a team “giving young people the opportunity to experience incredible experiences while bringing Ontario and Canadian French to the world.”

Four team members will become ineligible to compete next year as they graduate from high school. Northrup said they will still be mentors but coaches will be looking to reboot the team, starting with younger members as they did when first forming it four years ago.

“The team that we brought to the international competition have been together for four years … they had to learn, they just had a passion for STEM,” she said, adding that the new team “would be the same thing all over again, but using our mentors who are now going to be in high school to help the next generation.” 

Northrup offered appreciation for all the sponsors and community organizations that backed the team and helped make this run possible.

“It was certainly the students who did all the work, but we had a lot of community backing, and that community backing is so important to us,” she said. “It was a team effort.” 

Reader Feedback

Joseph Quigley

About the Author: Joseph Quigley

Joseph is the municipal reporter for NewmarketToday.
Read more