As I exited the bus, I looked at the school that I had last visited nine months ago. The same cold wind bombarded me. The same ambition that I felt during my last time in Chadwick International School still persisted. However, there was one key difference: our school came to gain something more than “just experience.”
Before I go on to the competition, It would be better to elaborate on the VEX competitions (VEX is not an acronym). The VEX competition is an annual competition that allows aspiring STEM (Science Technology, Engineering Math) students to follow their dreams. The competitions usually involve moving cones, parking in a specific zone, shooting balls or stacking up cones using robots students made from scratch, but all of the competition topics change annually. The high-school/university competition is done on a 2 v 2 formats and involves driving and programming the robots, while the middle-school/elementary school competition is more programming based. There is also a college based competition that limits the money utilized to make the robot.
This competition was an unique experience for not only me, but for some other students as well, since this was their first time actually competing in the competition, and since there were even some students that came all the way from Beijing just to compete, the first time international students had actually come to compete in Korean robotics competition. Despite the fact that this competition was supposed to be the first “real” VEX competition tournament, it felt more like a learning experience for me.
|[The VEX robotics competition field set in Chadwick International School’s cafeteria
(taken by Matthew Choi)]
Since this was the first “actual” competition in Korea before choosing the Korean representatives for the VEX world competition, there were more teams participating (a total of 18 or so teams from 4 schools) with even a team from China participating for the first time. This competition was far more rigorous, due to how it was technically a “up-to -date” competition that replicated the conditions of VEX worlds. Eight of Chadwick’s teams participated in the competition, along with six of Asia Pacific International School, three from Korea International School Jeju, and one team from Beijing International School.
|[The APIS freshmen pose for a photo with their robot (feat Matthew Choi)]
In this competition, APIS was successful in taking one of the top spots in the tournament, with my team ranking third place in the qualifiers, and making it to the finals of the elimination rounds. Along with that, we were also the runner-up team for the “excellence award,” an award given to a team that performed well overall in the tournament, as well as having the best progress reports and interview conducted by judges. Another team was able to get the design award, given to the team with the best notebook. Regardless, it was a very notable improvement for the APIS robotics team, especially after the events of the October competition (the article about the October Competition is also in Herald Tomorrow).
All in all, APIS teams were able to receive tips on how to perform well in the national qualifiers, as well as getting to know some members of Chadwick’s teams. This competition was not only a lecture, but also a motivator for all teams in Korea to try their best in the competition, practicing and testing through trial and error over and over again until reaching near perfection in driving and programming. Now that all of Korea’s competitions are over, I think that our team should participate in other competitions, such as the ones in Tokyo, Singapore, and more before competing in the Korean nationals to further expand upon our experience and desire to win.
|[A picture of my team robot that competed in the tournament (feat Matthew Choi)]
Asia Pacific International School
Matthew Choi firstname.lastname@example.org
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