Dandenong High School is an environment in which every student is able to achieve success, and this group are shining examples of how we support students to pursue their passion and achieve outstanding outcomes.
This experience has taken them from their classroom of robotics, to being named National Robotics Tournament Champions, to participating in the Asia Pacific Championships, to attending Parliament House to meet Premier Daniel Andrews, Deputy Premier James Merlino and Member for Dandenong Gabrielle Williams, members of the manufacturing industry, and finally to the World Robotics Championships in Louisville, USA.
Throughout this journey they have sought opportunities to expand their skills, knowledge and understanding, not only in the area of robotics and engineering but in the development of themselves.
This was achieved through teamwork, perseverance and ingenuity, and they didn’t allow obstacles to detract from their goals. They have learnt much about Robotics, but they have also uncovered strengths they didn’t realise they had and it has opened their eyes to the opportunities for their future. Truly, an environment in which every student is able to achieve success.
The Dandenong High School Robotics Team attended the VEX Robotics World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky 20-23 April. The VEX Worlds are the largest Robotics Competition in the world with 1072 teams from 31 countries competing, and this year was recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest Robotics Competition ever.
The team earned the right to represent Australia after being named Tournament Champions at the Australian National Championships in December 2015.
Participating in the World Championships for the first time was an opportunity for the students to be exposed to a world standard of competition competing against teams, most of which have attended the VEX Worlds for the past 5 years. They have been able to establish collaborative networks with many overseas teams that will support their growth and development in robotics building and programming into the future. Another highlight was the opportunity for 3 of the students to participate in the opening ceremony, carrying the Australian flag in front of 8,000 spectators.
The team finished with 3 wins from their 10 matches, placing 83rd in the High School Engineering Division. This is an outstanding achievement for students who have only been developing and building robots for the past 12 months. The experience has been an amazing learning opportunity for the students and participating in the competition has further inspired the passion for Robotics and engineering. They have already begun planning their next robot to defend their Australian National Title later this year and aim to return to Louisville for the 2017 VEX World Championships.
To further support the students understanding of real world applications of Robotics, Science and career pathway options, the team also attended the Johnson NASA Space Centre in Houston. The students cherished the opportunity to experience a visit to the Historic Mission Control Centre that supported the Apollo 11 moon landing and to further understand the impact of aeronautical technology on human endeavours. This was truly an experience the students will never forget.
The students had to overcome challenges such as the US Customs and Border Protection agency damaging the robot during inspection, which required significant repairs. The students preparations were further hampered when the team was stranded in Houston due to the unprecedented flooding that shut down the city, and meant we arrived in Louisville only the night before the competition. Despite these challenges the students persevered and identified positives and learning experiences from their travels. The students are extremely grateful for the opportunity to travel to the VEX World Championships and to pursue their passion for Robotics.
“Our time in America was amazing and we learnt both life and educational based skills that will change our future. We have learnt to navigate unknown cities and airports, taking care of ourselves and managing our money for eleven days all without our parents supervision. Not only this but we improved on our public speaking skills, working as a team and as an individual. Being exposed to advanced engineering techniques gave us the motivation and drive to show the other teams what we can do and this gave us both future and career goals”
“The one thing that we all learnt from this amazing experience is that opportunities are rare to come by therefore we took this opportunity head on. A lot of hard work and dedication went into our new robot. If our new robot took us a month to do, imagine the things we can achieve in 6 months with our new profound knowledge. Another thing that we learnt is that nothing is perfect. Take our robot for example, there were some mistakes. Learning from these mistakes made us think more and strive for more making us the people we are now”
“Looking back at where we started out journey in engineering and robotics, I can clearly say that we have come a long way, made new friends from all over the world and learnt new and advanced engineering skills that will aid us in our future careers in engineering”