SMART Sistas girls at LAX, Los Angeles international airport preparing to board their flight to Washington, DC on Friday.

By Jonas Cullwick

The Telecommunications and Radiocommunications Regulator (TRR), Dalsie Baniala, has sent a message to the three SMART Sistas girls in Washington, DC and their mentor wishing them good luck for the FIRST Global robotic challenge that will start in a few hours.

In her email address to their mentor and guardian, Rodney Philemon, who is accompanying the girls, Ms Baniala said “I wish you all the best, good luck and enjoy the competition.”

TRR is one of the main sponsors for Team Vanuatu, paying for accommodation for the team members at George Washington University.

“This is a great event to have our tiny nation represented and will remain in the memories of our participants for many years to come,” Paul Alexander Hetyey (Alex), the Principal, Central School — Kindergarten, Primary, Secondary and Second Chance Learning where one of the girls, 14-year-old Lilia Raptigh, goes to.

“It will open their eyes to the big world, its opportunities and challenges, outside of Vanuatu and will inspire them to find the passion for their future careers.

“Good luck girls, congratulations whether you win or not, learn a lot and most importantly have a good time!”

He thanked Mr Philemon “for being their mentor, guardian and chaperone and opening new doors for them”.

On arrival on Friday they checked-in to the housing accommodations and then made sure to charge all batteries for phones, robots, and tablets.

On Saturday July 15, all teams arrived at DAR Constitution Hall, the venue of the competition, robots were inspected to ensure they are compliant with competition rules, team mentor meetings with FIRST Global President Joe Sestak were held, and teams participated in a series of practice rounds throughout the rest of the day.

On Sunday, July 16 all teams underwent final practice rounds at DAR Constitutional Hall, the venue of the FIRST Global robotic challenge before the Opening ceremony in the evening.

On Monday, July 17 (US time) teams arrive at DAR Constitution Hall for Competition rounds 1 — 3 occurring throughout the day.

On Tuesday, July 18 Competition rounds 4 — 6, will take place throughout the day with the closing and awards ceremony in the evening.

On Wednesday and Thursday, July 19 and 20, teams are free to explore Washington DC before flying home.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: jonas@dailypost.vu. Cell # 678 5460922

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