THE BEST: St Finbarrs team of Josh Boggis, Vincent Vidal, Samuel Amar (team leader), Alastair Page, Lucy Tischler and Olivia M
THE BEST: St Finbarrs team of Josh Boggis, Vincent Vidal, Samuel Amar (team leader), Alastair Page, Lucy Tischler and Olivia M

Tech-minded students win Robocup

By Brian Bigg

FORGET spelling bees and paddle pop stick buildings.

The savvy youngsters from St Finbarr's School in Byron Bay have done something way cooler. Nine of them have been crowned the 2007 Australian Robocup Junior Dance champions. The St Finbarr's entry, Mission Impossible, took on a field of 18 elite teams from around Australia at the Gold Coast Convention Centre over the weekend. There was even a team from China.

St Finbarr's wowed the crowd with a technically challenging rescue routine using chain reactions in which nine Lego Mindstorm robots were sequenced to the Mission Impossible theme music.

Paul Amar, a parent volunteer who coached the team, said it was the team's first attempt at a national title.

"The kids gave up many of their lunch breaks as well as putting in time in class and at home," he said.

Samuel Amar, the team leader, said that becoming the national champions of Australia had made all the hard work feel very worthwhile. "The pressure was intense but our team handled it well."

St Finbarr's School principal, Nola Richmond, said she was extremely proud of the children's achievements.

"Robotics is a challenging and exciting program. The dedication of the students and our wonderful parents has been truly inspirational to the school."

The Robocup competition began in Melbourne in 2000 and has since has grown to more than 1000 teams.



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