School Life

Robotics

SMLS offers a dynamic learning environment for girls, and all of our programs are designed to inspire and develop each girl as she continues on her path of learning. One of the most remarkable programs offered is FIRST Robotics, which challenges girls from Grades 1 through 12 to compete against other schools in a series of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) challenges.

At the primary level, students use LEGO® bricks to build a model that features a real-world scientific concept to be explored, while at the secondary level, girls build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. Perhaps what is most extraordinary about the program is its long-term impact on SMLS students and their future career choices. According to a 2013 Statistics Canada study, women represent the majority of university graduates, but are still underrepresented in STEM fields, with 200,000 males graduating annually in a STEM field compared to about 130,000 women.

Since the program’s inception in 2002, our robotics team has grown from two girls to more than fifty, making it the largest school program within SMLS – and one that has forged a pathway for girls in the Oakville community and beyond. Our Senior School team, SWAT 771, holds the title of being the first Canadian, all-girls’ team, and remains the only Canadian team that has won the prestigious World Engineering Inspiration Award at the FIRST Robotics World Championships.  

Our graduates are defying the odds, with 28% since 2002 pursuing STEM fields, compared to the national average of 19%. These choices have consequences, as fields of study such as engineering and computer science lead, on average, to better outcomes in the labour market in terms of employment, job match, and earnings. 

 
Our SWAT 771 team was thrilled to to welcome the renowned all-girls Afghanistan robotics team for a visit in 2018. Known as the Afghan Dreamers, the team was invited by FIRST Robotics Canada to participate in its FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) season in Ontario in 2018. Our team was chosen to partner with them during their stay in Ontario, supporting them as they built their robot and participated in competitions. The Afghan girls enjoyed a homestay with SMLS families for a portion of their visit. They attended competitions in Toronto and North Bay, and took a trip to Ottawa to meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 
SMLS Robotics Represents Canada at Robotics Challenge in China

Members of our SWAT 771 Robotics Team travelled to Zhengzhou China in July 2017 to participate in a robotics competition hosted by the China Urban Youth Robotics Alliance. Our students served as role models, hosting a conference for other girls in the competition and pairing with novice Chinese teams to help them design, build and test their robots for the competition. Our team was awarded the Silver trophy and the Inspiration Award for contributing to the introduction of FIRST Robotics in China. 
SWAT 771 is the senior Robotics team of St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School and holds the title of being the first Canadian, all-girls team. It remains the only Canadian team to win the prestigious World Engineering Inspiration Award at the FIRST Robotics World Championships. SWAT 771 has mentored girls in Robotics for many years locally and internationally.
Discover how your daughter will benefit from SMLS's superior academic program, our attention to each girl's social, emotional and physical wellbeing, and student leadership development - all designed for girls.