UJAA and FTC – FIRST Tech Challenge
(To learn more: https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/ftc)
FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), formerly known as FIRST Vex Challenge, is a robotics competition for students in grades 7–12 to compete head to head, by designing, building, and programming a robot to compete in an alliance format against other teams. FIRST Tech Challenge is the one of the four major robotics programs organized by FIRST.
FTC consists of local and regional qualifiers and the world championship, the FIRST Championship, and in every season, a kickoff is held to showcase the season’s theme and game. After kickoff, robots are designed, built, and programmed by teams, and teams are encouraged to conduct outreach with their communities. Local qualifiers are held for teams to compete and qualify for regional qualifiers, and from that point, regional qualifiers are held for teams to qualify for the world championship.
The core value that FIRST Tech Challenge promotes is embodied in the phrase “Gracious Professionalism.” Showing gracious professionalism can be done in many ways, from helping another team, to simply having fun at competitions. It means making sure every team has an equal opportunity, and that no one is left behind.
In 2018, FTC Jamaica was established as the FIRST Affiliate Representative for the Caribbean. FTC Jamaica hosted their first competition for high schools in the Caribbean in 2019 with 14 high schools competing, all from Jamaica. Most of these schools had been supported by their Alumni Associations in the creation of Robotics Clubs at the urging and support of UJAA.
In 2023, FTC Jamaica hosted their 4th National Competition with 35 schools competing from across Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Cayman Islands. The winning teams participated in the FTC World Championship in Houston, Texas.
Since 2020, UJAA has been the sponsor of the FTC Deans List Award which selects two (2) students to represent FTC Jamaica in the World FTC Deans List Competition. UJAA’s sponsorship allows both students to attend the World Competition by covering travel, accommodations, food and incidental expenses.