Philippine Robotics Team wins second place trophy in international competition
By Jane Kingsu-Cheng
The Philippine Robotics National Team, represented by Grace Christian College, participated in the FIRST LEGO League. It’s an international competition organized by FIRST for children between 9-16 years old. Challenges are given to test the children in research, problem solving, coding, and engineering.
Set in Sydney, Australia, the First Lego League Asia Pacific Open Championship had over 400 students, with a total of 43 teams from 21 countries. The Philippine team is comprised of 10 members: Grade 7 students Kylie Sy and Zoe Uy; Grade 9 students Chrysille So and Denzell Dy; Grade 11 students Ethan Uy, Heart Tan, Gen Dy, Arabelle Galupe, Raymond Zhang, lead by Alexis Ngo. Coaches Warren Ong-Pe and Arlyn Jordan were there to guide the team. Assistant coach JC Estonillo wasn’t there in Sydney, but helped in training the students back in Manila. Also present was Mylene Abiva, head Philippine organiser from Felta Multimedia. She organized the robotics competition in Manila and accompanied the Philippine team to the competition in Sydney.
Now on its 30th season, the theme for this competition is “Into Orbit,” where the teams will act and think like scientists and engineers, solving real-world problems through their projects. The entry by the Philippine Robotics National Team is a game made for the astronauts to play while they are on break. “They developed a game that astronauts can bring (since limited weight is allowed), using projectors and different programs,” shared Celeste Chua Sy, one of the mothers who accompanied the team of ten students.
This caught the attention of the judges, which resulted to bringing home a second place trophy for the country, under the second highest category, the Gracious Professionalism Award. This means the team got high scores in all categories such as research, robot game (where they placed 7th), core values, and robot design. According to Sy, “This award is given to the team with high-quality work, who emphasises the value of others and respects individuals and the community.”
The coaches prepared their team with rigorous training for six months. According to Sy, the children had little sleep leading to the competition. “They had to carry tents and luggage with kits & materials they needed, trudged uphill and downhill despite the cold and drizzling weather to get to the venue. They did this with no complaints. The teamwork, camaraderie and discipline they developed was quite amazing for me. The medals and trophy are just icing and cherry on top.”