Just before the March Break, SAC received an unexpected but welcome open invitation to the VEX Robotics Provincial Championship. The school’s robotic teams experimented with various robot designs but had not been preparing to attend any competitions due to the pandemic.
Once the students were approached about participating in the competition, there was an immediate “Yes!” Suddenly, all teams sought weekend hours to come to SAC’s Makerspace to complete their robots. They went from nothing completed to two functional robots within two weeks.
The veteran team was incredible. Andy Wang ’23 helped the junior team with the hardware, and Aaron Wang ’23 assisted with the software. Kian Pouragha ’23 and Josh Wang ’25 completed the engineering journals, and Bryan Zhao ’23 worked on the robot’s AI. The remaining juniors, Eli Chin ’24, Jack Liu ’23, and Daniel Lu ’24, considered all the advice and rapidly completed their robot. It was an incredible feat to witness, and all under the reassuring leadership of Club Captain, Bruce Sun ’22.
They travelled to Ottawa for the championship the afternoon of March 4 after spending the entire school day, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., working in the Makerspace finishing the robots.
When they arrived at the competition, only two other independent schools were in attendance, with the majority of the teams from after-school programs. The non-school teams are known to have many members and often spend several hours per week on their robots.
The SAC teams were set and prepared, despite the veterans looking exhausted from pulling double-duty as they worked on their robots through the night after spending most of the day helping the juniors. Each team played ten times and, for each match, were partnered with a different team chosen at random.
The junior team missed the playoffs by only a couple of spots, ranking 18th out of 36 teams; the Top 16 went on to the playoffs. It was an incredible accomplishment for a new program and so many rookie members. They have seen what a little effort can do and are now ready to put the extra hours in at our Makerspace to compete for a championship season next year.
Story by Terry Prezens, Upper School Teacher