São Paulo – Students from Bahia will represent Brazil at the international stage of Formula 1 in Schools in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The team from Escola SESI Reitor Miguel Calmon in Salvador won the national phase of the robotics championship held from March 15 to 17 in Rio de Janeiro during the Festival de Ciência e Tecnologia Sesi (SESI Science and Technology Festival).
F1 in Schools occurs among middle and high school students, from 12 to 19 years. The initiative is held in 42 countries. The challenge’s goals include having the students manage the project and construction of a Formula 1 mini-car, develop a business, marketing and social media plan, seek partnerships with the private sector, as well as creating a social action.
Each team features a technician. The Brazilian team called SevenSpeed (photo above), made up by six students, has as their technician their school’s Robotics teacher Robson Nunes. “Robotics is part of the middle and high school curriculum. This team has five seniors and one junior and has worked together in tournaments for quite some time. SESI’s work is very important for them. It is a school built in a poor region in Salvador. These kids only have access to technology here at school. Out of the six, only one has a computer at home,” Nunes explained in interview to ANBA.
The student team spent three months studying, including the holiday season, to arrive at the prototype that won the national contest. “This was a different competition, because the methodology challenged the students to start a business and become entrepreneurs. This gives them bigger autonomy and teaches them more. What they get from it is much more important than the prize,” said the schoolteacher, who had to pick six students from the 1800-plus kids who go to SESI.
Student Beatriz Mota took the lead for SevenSpeed, handling finances and other activities. Besides Mota, the students involved in the project were João Victor Dias – engineering designer, Beatriz Valongo – finance director, Geovane Santos – fundraiser, Franciele Moraes – marketing and PR director, and Icaro Canela Teixeira de Almeida – manufacturing engineer.
The hours put in by the students changed their routine. “It was an amazing experience. In this tournament I learned to be a true leader. Although I already had a tendency towards leadership, being able to hone this skill was very rewarding. Moreover, being a woman in a leadership position is very meaningful to me, to think that I’m making the difference and challenging a stereotype is awesome,” said Mota.
The schoolteacher explains that his main job was to provide guidance. “It’s very rewarding. This is unprecedented in Bahia. Being first in a tournament involving technology means the money is surely getting where it needs to,” said Nunes. The F1 in Schools World Finals will be concurrent with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, slated for November 28 to December 1. The students will get to meet the F1 racing teams and see at them work.
The Brazilians are eager to see a new country and a different culture. They’re working to fine-tune their project. “The challenge is to keep this company running until the tournament. We want to win!,” the teacher said. The team is looking for partners or sponsors to see their project through. Would-be sponsors can get in touch with the schoolteacher and coach at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Translated by Guilherme Miranda & Gabriel Pomerancblum