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St Paul’s robotics team engineers success


St Paul’s College has achieved success on the world stage through its senior robotics team known as the Paladins.

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Competing against teams from the UK, France, Germany, Malaysia and Indonesia, the Paladins made it to the knockouts and were named world champions after defeating a team from the Hills Road Sixth Form College in London.

Student Robotics International is the largest autonomous robotics competition in the UK and is highly coveted by the country’s top schools.  Due to COVID, it was forced to become a remote competition and teams from around the world were invited to participate.

St Paul’s College is the first international team to win the event.

The school’s senior team is made up of about 20 students from Year 7 to 12 while a junior robotics team of a similar size will be formed soon.

The captain of the senior team is Caleb Rodgers, Year 12 and vice captain is Chris Rogers, Year 10 .

They were the lead programmers for this competition and competed strongly in all four League matches which were held from November 2020 to April 2021.

Coach Sue O’Malley, who is leader of Learning – Middle Years STEM at St Paul’s, said the team began in 2020 as a FIRST Tech Challenge team. Guided by adult coaches and mentors, students are challenged to design, build, program, and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge in an alliance format.

Ms O’Malley said the Paladins had quickly grown to embrace the international robotics community, hosting a segment of the 24Hours of STEM as well as participating in the Student Robotics International competition, Science Week, the FIRST Tech Challenge national championships and currently, the Malaysian Roboticist challenge.

“We are proud of our achievements in our first year,” she said.

The students were ably mentored by CSIRO Professionals in Schools partner, Shaun Voigt, from DSTG and supported by the rest of the team, who used the competition as a training exercise to develop their Python coding skills.

The Paladins are keen to increase the number of FIRST Tech Challenge teams in South Australia and are happy to support and mentor other Catholic schools.


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