Friday the 13th was lucky for robots

The official national RoboCup Junior robotics qualifier was Friday, April 13 in Montreal. We sent 11 teams for a total of 33 students ranging from grades 5 to 11. The students quickly had to adjust to the varying interpretation of the rules in the various leagues, but they did, and they did it with great success.

By the end of the first day of competition, our grade 5/6 team, designated as a primary team, was in third place, our only secondary soccer team, grades 7 and up, was undefeated and in first place, and seven of our remaining nine secondary rescue teams, held the top seven spots. What an incredible set of results for a Friday the 13th.

Saturday was not as kind. The robots still performed incredibly well, and our secondary soccer team and rescue teams continued to dominate, but the safety of our students became a primary concern because most of Southern Ontario was battling an ice storm.

The boys had to pack up their robots and leave before the final rankings were announced and awards presented. We all had to wait until Tuesday when we were happily rewarded with many trophies, awards, and plaques for the incredible robotics display by our students. Several St. Andrew’s teams will be going to the world competition this summer to represent Canada in both the Soccer and Rescue-Line leagues.

An incredible achievement by the boys, but there is another story that must also be told. On the Friday, the robotics coaches, Lawrence DeMello, Emilia Macdonald, and Stephen Holmes, ordered the boys pizza for lunch. Given that the boys were focused on their robots, they worked through lunch and ate very little. The remaining six large boxes of pizza were taken back to the hotel on the school bus.

Mr. DeMello had already made dinner plans for the team, so he knew the pizza may go to waste. As they headed to the hotel, they passed a soup kitchen and Mr. DeMello yelled, “STOP.” More volunteers than necessary quickly offered to distribute the pizza to the people in line. “It was really, really touching”, said Mr. DeMello.

Congratulations to all the boys on their competition success, and more importantly, on their resilience, compassion, maturity, and citizenship.

Please take a look at these photos from Robocup.

Story by Terry Prezens
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St. Andrew's College
15800 Yonge Street, Aurora, ON L4G 3H7 Canada
Tel: 905-727-3178