Robotics continues to thrive at St. Andrew’s College. Every year, for the last decade, at least one team from SAC has been invited to be Canada’s national representative at the world championships of RoboCup.
Now with excitement growing as St. Andrew’s undergoes a science and technology expansion complete with a new makerspace, robotics students are further challenging themselves by trying other competitions. One such possibility is the VEX robotics competition, the largest competition in North America and arguably the world. Teams are tasked with designing and building a robot to play against other teams in a game-based engineering challenge.
Grade 12 student, Kevin Zhang, approached his teachers with the idea of starting a VEX team, however, there was no space to house the game field during the renovation of McLaughlin Hall, and the team would have to wait until after the makerspace was built.
Kevin was not deterred. He and seven other enthusiasts, Marco Li, Grade 12, Roy Huang, Eddie Jia, and Simon Li, Grade 11, Bruce Sun, Grade 10, and Andy Wang and Aaron Wang, Grade 9, were committed to the challenge. With the school’s blessing and support, Kevin’s family graciously transformed their basement into a VEX game field. SAC VEX robotics was on its way.
On Saturday, Jan. 11, team 97779A travelled to Ottawa and reaped the rewards of their tenacity and diligence. They won all three of the major awards: the Robot Skill Champion Award, the Tournament Champion Award, and the Excellence Award. Any of these awards would have qualified them for the provincial championships, but to get all three was truly impressive.
The team is ranked as the second-best in Robot Skills for all of Ontario. Next is the provincials on February 29.
What an incredible accomplishment for these students who form the first SAC team to try the VEX competition. A coach who was also in Ottawa with her team spoke highly of the SAC students and was most impressed by their eagerness to congratulate their opponents after each match. She was also moved by how kind and caring they were to a middle school team from another school that they worked with.
Story by Terry Prezens, Course Director of Computer Science and Engineering