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Great Southern schools compete for chance to take part in FIRST LEGO League Challenge in December

Jacob Morgan-de LaineAlbany Advertiser
Great Southern schools put their robots through a series of challanges
Camera IconGreat Southern schools put their robots through a series of challanges Credit: Charlotte Wooldridge

Robots went head-to-head at Albany Town Hall last week with Great Southern schools competing for a chance to showcase their skills in Perth in December.

Five schools from Albany, Denmark and Mt Barker took part with the top three teams moving on to the State qualifiers in Perth.

The students made up 12 teams, testing their mettle against their peers in two STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) problem-solving challenges — the Robot Challenge and the Innovation Project.

Teams from Great Southern Grammar, St Joseph’s College, Mt Barker Community College, Denmark Senior High School, North Albany and Albany Senior High School took part in the competition which aims to introduce STEM to children aged four-16 through fun, exciting hands-on learning.

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The Octonauts from North Albany Senior High School and SJCA1 and SJCA2 from St Joseph’s College Albany impressed judges and robot games referees with their teamwork, core values and engineering.

St Joseph’s College, whose two teams won the overall winners or champion’s award and the engineering excellence award respectively, were the only primary school-aged teams in the competition.

Great Southern schools put their robots through a series of challanges
Camera IconGreat Southern schools put their robots through a series of challanges Credit: Charlotte Wooldridge

Students from St Joseph’s College thanked their coach Sharleen Cavanagh for helping them build their robots.

“We are all just very excited, all our hard work has paid off,” Ms Cavanagh said.

“The children have put so much into it, given up some Sundays, they really deserve it, it’s fantastic.”

Three teams, two from St Joseph’s College Albany and one from North Albany Senior High School will be advancing to compete in Perth this December at the FIRST LEGO League Challenge nationals, district championship west.

In Perth, the Great Southern schools will be part of 48 teams and nearly 1000 visitors from around WA.

“We will be competing against high school teams who have been doing this for five years,” Ms Cavanagh said.

“This is our first year, we only got the robots in semester two.”

City of Albany manager community relations Louise Paterson said the FIRST LEGO League program was a great opportunity for students to put their creative problem-solving skills into practice.

“It was fantastic to see students of all backgrounds learning new skills and embracing the healthy competition at Albany’s qualifying round,” she said.

“To have Albany representation heading to the WA Championships in Perth off the back of our first local event is fantastic.

“Supporting these initiatives helps provide equal opportunities for regional students to explore innovative and exciting technologies.”

Mt Barker Community College’s Jay Vella was also honoured with the coach/mentor award for his work coaching Mt Barker Community College team one.

Students from St Joseph’s College
Camera IconStudents from St Joseph’s College Credit: Jacob Morgan-de Laine/Albany Advertiser

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