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TMCNet:  First Quebec Robotics Festival-More Than 5,000 Persons to Gather in Montreal to Take Part in the First Quebec Robotics Festival

[March 16, 2012]

First Quebec Robotics Festival-More Than 5,000 Persons to Gather in Montreal to Take Part in the First Quebec Robotics Festival

MONTREAL, QUEBEC, Mar 16, 2012 (Marketwire via COMTEX) -- At the Uniprix Stadium this morning, Bombardier, BMO Financial Group, Youth Fusion, Robotique FIRST Quebec and Montreal Hooked on School, along with partners from the education community, launched the first Quebec Robotics Festival. Bringing together more than 5,000 people from 67 schools in Quebec, one in Ontario and four in the United States, this major event features high school and elementary students taking part in a series of significant technological challenges. The initiative aims to familiarize students with science and new technology, and inspire young Quebecers to stay in and succeed at school.

"I encourage you to continue studying science and technology, because Quebec needs you if we are to keep innovating and maintain our shining reputation around the world," said Laurent Beaudoin, Chairman of the Board of Bombardier Inc., to some 2,000 participants. Joining him on the podium were Gerald Tremblay, Mayor of Montreal, L. Jacques Menard, President of BMO Financial Group, Quebec, Gabriel Bran Lopez, founder and executive director of Youth Fusion, and many other partners. "All these challenges will let you demonstrate your creativity, ingeniousness and perseverance, while also creating a feeling of belonging, of working toward a common goal and of pride in your schools," added L. Jacques Menard, Chair of the Action Group on Student Retention and Success.

For his part, Mayor Tremblay said: "Montreal relies on creativity and innovation to succeed. Our city is proud to host the Quebec FIRST Robotics festival, a terrific initiative that encourages students to stay in school and spark in young people a passion for science and a cooperative spirit even in competitive settings." Uniprix Stadium has been divided into several zones in order to maximize the young people's work and optimize the guests' experience: the GRACIOUS PROFESSIONALISM ZONE (the pits), the SPORTS ENGINEERING ZONE (the bleachers), the WORK AND INNOVATION ZONE (the tool box) and the SOCIAL INVOLVEMENT ZONE (the volunteers).

FOR 14-TO 18-YEAR-OLDS: THE QUEBEC FIRST ROBOTICS COMPETITION (FRC) "FIRST" IN FIVE WORDS: For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology The challenge facing the 14- to 18-year-olds is daunting: each school has had six weeks to build a functional, quality robot able to play basketball in a competition called Rebond Rivaux. From September to May and during six intense weeks of construction, the young people worked with teachers, university experts and engineers, enabling them to deepen their scientific knowledge and put it into practice. The ultimate goal is extremely motivating: to take on other robots at the international championship.

FOR 9-TO 13-YEAR-OLDS: THE LEGO(R)-BASED TECHNOLOGY CHALLENGES Supported by engaged and engaging teachers and by high school students acting as mentors, the elementary school students used LEGO(R) Mindstorms NXT technology to build, test and program autonomous robots designed to complete a series of theme-related missions. This year, all elementary students and some high school students explored two themes: food, with the FIRST LEGO League, and vanished civilizations, with Zone01.

BEHIND THIS SOCIAL MOBILIZATION Dedicated to inspiring the next generation of science and technology practitioners and aware of the need to get involved in the fight against dropping out of school, the business community rallied to support the holding of the festival and give a larger number of young people access to educational robotics. The event's partners are: Presenting Partners: Bombardier Inc., BMO Financial Group, Youth Fusion, Robotique FIRST Quebec and Montreal Hooked on School.

Gold Partners: The J. Armand Bombardier Foundation, CAE, Hydro-Quebec, Vigilant Global and the Ville de Montreal.

Silver Partners: Pratt & Whitney Canada, Future Electronics, Autodesk, Bechtel, TELUS, Heroux Devtek, CGI, BRP and the Ministere du Developpement economique, de l'Innovation et de l'Exportation.

All the Greater Montreal, Eastern Townships, Lower St. Lawrence, National Capital, North Shore, Mauricie, Ontario and United States teams have until Saturday, March 17, to demonstrate their technological prowess. The closing ceremony, which will honour the top winners and recognize the young people's efforts, will be held on Saturday, March 17, 2012, at 3:30 p.m.

For more information about the first Quebec Robotics Festival or to follow the results, visit www.festivalderobotique.ca.

THE FESTIVAL IN NUMBERS 5,000 persons in all 1,800 young people 1,000 guests 200 mentors and experts 32 high schools 35 elementary schools 5 schools outside Quebec 8 school boards 9 universities SOURCE: Fusion Jeunesse Marilena Varano Manager - Communications, Vigilant Global, and member of the organizing committee 514 825-1377 MVarano@vigilantglobal.com www.festivalderobotique.ca

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