Bev Facey Community High’s robotics team operates their robot during the regional robotics competition hosted at the school.

Bev Facey Community High’s robotics team operates their robot during the regional robotics competition hosted at the school.

Sherwood Park, AB. — This year, students from Bev Facey Community High and Salisbury Composite High are gearing up to compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge Alberta Championship, a provincial robotics competition for students in both junior high and senior high.

On March 4-5, the Bev Facey and Salisbury robotics teams will join more than 200 students, in grades 7-12, from across the province at St. Joseph’s High in Red Deer. There, they will design, build, program and operate a robot—complete with sensors, motors, gears and software—to compete in an alliance format against other Alberta-based teams.

“I joined Facey Robotics because I wanted early exposure to a collaborative engineering environment, and I’m not disappointed,” says Chloe Wagner, a Grade 12 student at Bev Facey Community High. “The competitions are full of other teens with a passion for innovation, motivation and collaboration with one another to find the best solutions to our world’s problems. I’ve learned that even when teamwork is mandatory, we’re only ever truly successful when we work together.”

Throughout the competition, each team works with their robot in an alliance with another team playing a game called POWERPLAY. The goal: to score more points than the opponent. Points are scored by the robot moving cones onto specified junctions or parking in select zones located on the playmat. During the first 30 seconds, robots are operated in an autonomous period using pre-programmed instructions. It then moves to a two-minute driver-controlled period. Then, in the last 30 seconds, robots can still earn points through normal means— however, bonus points are introduced for several other actions.

“These robotics competitions are great for motivating students, fostering communication and forming connections with like-minded people across the province,” says David Hay, a robotics teacher at Bev Facey Community High. “Each participant brings their own strengths and interests, and they can all make valuable contributions. Being on a robotics team also introduces students to possible post-secondary and career opportunities.”

Up to 12 FIRST Tech Challenge awards are up for grabs—ranging in category from the Innovate Award to the Control Award, and the Motivate Award to the Design Award. Both the top team and the team handed the Inspire Award will advance to the FIRST World Championship Tech Challenge in Houston, taking place in April.

“I’m really excited for the provincial robotics championship,” says Zane Cournoyer, a Grade 12 student at Salisbury Composite High. “I enjoy the community building between teams, seeing how they approach a task differently to how I might. The problem-solving and real-world applications have built my confidence and teamwork skills too, which’ve all been very useful outside of a robotics setting.”

Congratulations to all the Bev Facey and Salisbury students competing in the 2023 FIRST Tech Challenge Alberta Championship. And good luck!


Elk Island Public Schools is one of Alberta’s largest school divisions, serving approximately 17,460 students in 43 schools. We are proud to be an integral part of our communities, including Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Vegreville, Strathcona and Lamont counties, and the western portion of the County of Minburn.



For more information contact:
Laura McNabb, Director, Communication Services, EIPS 780-417-8204 cell 780-405-4902