6 / November / 2019

Moreton Bay Region Students Place Second in International Robot Olympics


Posted 6 November 2019

Team Australia Place Second in High School Robot Olympics


The third instalment of the FIRST Global Challenge (FGC) took place this October in Dubai, with the Australian team, comprising of St Peters Lutheran College and Grace Lutheran College students, placing second in the robot challenge out of 192 countries.

Previously held in Washington DC in 2017 and Mexico City in 2018, the FGC has been described as the robot Olympics for high school students. The selection process takes into account individual school’s robot quality, student teamwork across events during the school calendar year, as well as support the school has provided to other schools in their region in relation to robotics.

“Team Australia is selected from hundreds of eligible schools for the FGC event. Based on the selection criteria, Grace College and St Peter’s Lutheran College were the schools selected to represent Team Australia. This has been the case in each of the three years since the competition’s inception. A testament to both school’s robotics programs,” said Peter Kellett, Manager Grace Innovation & Enterprise.

Once selected, teams are assigned with building a robot over a 10 week build season using the same rules and parts as other schools competing. Creating a level playing field, this method means the quality of the robots is not determined by money or access to better equipment and expertise.

“Our Team Australia robot made it to the Grand Final by beating countries such as the USA, China, Korea and Japan. We’re extremely proud of the student’s efforts. It’s our best finish in the competition yet,” said Derek Bartels, Lutheran Education Queensland Director of Innovation &Technology.

Known as ‘The Pineapples’, Team Australia students decorated their team pit in all things pineapple, even handing out the iconic pineapple lollies to other competitors.

“The Team Australia pit became a favourite of many teams. Impromptu dance parties would break out on occasion at the Team Australia pit. International unity was clearly high on our agenda!” said Mr Kellett.

An interesting story within the competition was that Team Australia partnered with Israel in the finals. A remarkable circumstance as Israeli citizens are not generally allowed to enter the UAE. UAE officials allowed Israel to join the event at the last minute.

“It was a wonderful sub-plot to the tournament. It gave our young people a chance to experience how an event like this can overcome international restrictions and boundaries, bringing people together that otherwise wouldn’t have that opportunity,” said Mr Kellett.