Hero photograph
The finalist - Winners and Runner-up
Photo by Katana Dunn

Vex Robotics Nationals - Success at last!

Katana Dunn —

Burnside High School and Christchurch Boys High School have been involved with Vex Robotics for more than 10 years and Canterbury were finally able to win this prestigious robotics competition. They both made it to the finals where Christchurch Boys High ended up as the Tournament champion after a nail biting final. This is a huge achievement for Canterbury as it is normally the North Island teams that succeed. Therefore, they qualified for the Worlds in Louisville, Kentucky in the USA from the 22-25 of April 2020.

The first Vex Robotics season started in the USA in 2007 and since then they have designed a new challenge every year where students have to create a robot, using Vex parts, to compete in a competition that is as exciting as any other team sport. New Zealand got involved shortly after this. 

This season started in April 2019, with the game "Tower Takeover" and will conclude at the Worlds at the end of April 2020 where the new game will be launched. In the past couple of years we had some really motivated students involved like Eric Song, Felix Backhouse and Ethan Ng - all of whom Nathma Kalubovilage Don learned from; but it was finally Nathma himself, the driver at this year's Nationals with his team of Alex Cutforth and Alex Rickard, that did it. They made an incredible comeback from nearly last (out of 65 teams) due to robot troubles, to being ranked 13th, then chosen for the final rounds where they made it to the finals. 

Obviously, having a great team means you have a larger group that surrounds you and ensures you get there. We have a great group of students in the BHS Robotics club that supported these winners. As Canterbury we had scrimmages(practices) most weekends the last couple of months and worked closely with Christchurch Boys High and St Andrew's College (lost in quarter finals) to ensure the 9 teams going to Nationals are able to get as must practice and support as they needed. This included support from UC Robotics. This was our best season by far. 

With the current state of affairs in the world we may never make it to the World Championship but there is nothing we can do about that. This would be a huge experience for the students and teachers to attend such an event where normally about 700 teams compete for various prizes. They are sponsored by the biggest names in Technology and the ultimate application of STEM problem solving ability for high school students. 

I am so proud of these students.