RoboCup Nationals - Congratulations!
I was fortunate enough to compete in the National RoboCup Championship at The University of Queensland in Brisbane. I received this amazing opportunity due to my learning experiences at Christian College and those provided by other teachers, students and mentors.
It started in our Systems and Engineering classroom in Term 1, when I chose the topic, league and type of robot that I then went on to spend the next semester building and testing. After one or two weeks of thinking and planning, I started building the main body of the robot that I would compete with 1 and 1/2 terms later. This was one of my major problems, though, as 1 and 1/2 terms sounds like a long time, and it is!. However all the small problems and extra things that go on while I was doing this made the time fly by and soon I ended up with a lot of work to do within the last few weeks.
Once I had nearly finished my robot, the day of the first major test of arose in the form of the Regional Competition at Middle School Highton. I still had testing and programming to go and so, instead of noticing the amazing variety of robots, schools and people there, I sat at my workbench and worked on my robot and computer - because that was all that mattered at the time. I knew I had two attempts at glory and at least one of them had to go well. As the officials called me up to the robot dance mat I had to hope that my robot had the same ideas in its head as the ones I had programmed it to have. At the end of the day, I had some good news and some bad news. The bad news was that my robot broke on the first attempt and got disqualified because it went out of the boundaries on the second run, meaning I finished last. The good news was that I was still able to participate in the next round as a wildcard.
On the bus ride up to Melbourne for the State Competition, I double-checked and triple-checked my robot and my program so that, one, no problems would occur and, two, to pass time on the long trip. Once there, I competed and had much greater success than at the regionals, and because of this success I was anticipating the announcement of awards at the end of the day. I was amazed to hear that I had come first, which no one had done from Christian College Bellerine for over eight years. It also meant that I would compete in the Nationals in Brisbane.
After working like crazy I had finally made and organised everything that I needed for Nationals. I opened the box carrying my robot and equipment in Brisbane to find it had all broken by the plane trip - meaning that instead of enjoying Brisbane I had to spend my time up there rebuilding and fixing my robot. After setting up my table at the University of Queensland, I presented. As my robot still wasn’t fully fixed, it didn’t work as well as I wanted it to throughout the competition - but I thank the groups from Perth, Sydney and the Senior School for their help. So after spending nearly three terms on my robot, I finished with the claim of one of the 10 top senior robots in Australia, as well as also learning many lessons that I will use for a long time to come. Among those lessons are learning to learn from others, being able to manage my time and that you just have do the best you can do. With this information I can plan to get to the International Competition and help others to reach the same standard I aim to reach.
I would like to thank Christian College for the great support they provided as well as the opportunities that brought me here. I would also like to thank Rupert Humphris for helping me at the Nationals and Mr Viegas for the time he gave up during lunchtimes and after class to help me finish the way I did.
Year 7 Student