Otūmoetai College Robotics Club off to Dallas

Otūmoetai College Robotics Club, Jamie Venman, Troy Edhouse and Emily Aldridge. Photo supplied.

Otūmoetai College Robotics Club is off to Dallas in April for the world championships after their success at the Vex Nationals in Auckland.

The Otūmoetai College Robotics Club promotes STEM education based on Robotic technologies, including Programming, Building, testing and research, says manager Sarah Aldridge.

“We also promote working together, negotiation skills, building relationships and team building, skills that help within the competition.”

Sarah says there are 27 students in the club and seven teams.

There are three club members in the team and they will all be going to the world championships.

Emily Aldridge and Jamie Venman are 17 years old and Troy Edhouse is 15 years old.

Both Emily and Jamie have been in the club for four years and joined the club in their first year of college, Troy has been in the club for two years and joined in his first year of college.

The team joined the club because they all a hold common interest in robotics.

“It’s a club that accepts us all,” says Emily.

“It is a welcoming club where we can have fun, learn about robotics, and interact with other teams,” she says.

Sarah says the club was started in 2010 by current electronic teacher, Mr Wessels, when he saw a demonstration of a robot by the Vex.

The national competition in Auckland involved “70 teams competing to get into a position of selecting alliance partners”, says Sarah.

“Out of the 70 teams, 16 of them got to this point. The 16 teams, with their alliance partners, competed in the elimination round until the last two alliances were standing.

“The finals are run as the best of three rounds.

“Otūmoetai2941X was in an alliance that made it to the finals,” says Sarah, and all finalists won a place in the world championships in Dallas.

When asked how the team feels about the opportunity Emily says, “Bloody amazing, it feels amazing to have been given this opportunity.”

Troy and Emily say it’s all quite overwhelming, but as a team they have accomplished a big goal.

Otumoetai College Robotics Club wins a place to the world robotics championship in Dallas. Photo supplied.

The team have not competed at the world championships before.

“We are all very excited to head over to Dallas, and meet different people from different countries,” says Emily and Jamie.

Troy and Emily say they are inspired by the club mentor Garry and the teammate Jamie.

“We would love to give a major thanks to our club manager Sarah and our club mentor Garry who have given us this opportunity to be able to compete at the Robotics Worlds competition.

“2915D (Glenfield College) our alliance partners who we competed with in the elimination’s at nationals.

“Finally a huge thanks to Mr Wessels our club teacher in charge and major supporter,” says Emily.

“Robotics within Otūmoetai has become a safe haven for the odd kids who need a safe space to grow and expand their education and friendships within an inclusive, supportive environment,” says Sarah.

“All of this is framed around the Vex and STEM principles.”

The team is looking for sponsors as the opportunity to compete in Dallas is going to cost more than $30,000 and is fully funded by the students.

Please contact the club manager Sarah Aldridge saldridge@otc.school.nz.

“Sponsorship helps with the expenses and enables the students that might not be able to go due to the costs.”

“Otūmoetai has been running for 14 years now and has won the world competition once and was finalists on two other occasions.

“Last year we won a Sportsmanship at Worlds 2023.”

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