West Auckland secondary school Lynfield College has achieved the ultimate accolade at the VEX world robotics championships held in Louisville, the United States, over Anzac weekend after it being crowned the winners of the High School Excellence Award, the top award of the championships. 

Lynfield retained the Excellence Award won for New Zealand last year by Glenfield College.

The VEX Robotics Competition, presented by the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation, is the ultimate STEM activity for intermediate and high school students (ages 11-18).

Each year, an engineering challenge is presented in the form of a game where students, with guidance from their teachers and mentors, use the VEX Robotics Design System to build innovative robots designed to score the most points possible in qualification matches, elimination matches and skills challenges. 

In addition to having a great time and building amazing robots, through their participation in the VEX Robotics Competition and their work within their team, students will learn many academic and life skills.

The VEX Robotics Competition game for the 2015-2016 season is VEX Robotics Competition Nothing But Net, and was revealed at last year’s world championship.

Lynfield also won the robot skills world champions award for the highest score in a competition where a robot competes alone on the field under driver control for one minute. 

Scoring 454 points equates to getting two balls into a net with an opening roughly half the size of a netball hoop 15 feet away every second.

This was done using a robot built and programmed by Lynfield students and their next closest rival was 23 points behind them.

New Zealand schools have performed well at the championships, named world champions for the past eight years, which NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says is an amazing result. 

This year saw 12 NZ school teams and 75 Kiwis travel to Louisville for the event.

“This is quite an outstanding example of the tech sector and schools working together to stimulate interest in technology and demonstrating that Kiwi tech talent is alive and strong,” Muller says. 

“These are the future tech leaders of New Zealand and NZTech is working with Kiwibots and other similar organisations to bring together an Alliance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) organisations working together to support the growth of tech skills,” he adds. 

Head of department science at Glenfield College David Aston also experienced huge success during the championships, when he was inducted into the VEX Robotics STEM Hall of Fame as Teacher of the Year. 

Entry to this club is restricted to those who are selected by their peers not only for the dedication and hard work that they put into the programme but also the all other aspects of the student’s lives. 

There are only nine teachers in the world who have received this award. 

Aston joins Johan Potgieter who was one of the first inductees in recognition of starting VEX in NZ.
VEX Robotics Competition has grown to be the biggest robotics competition in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records. 
A total of 1072 teams from 40 countries competed in Louisville at the weekend for the right to call themselves world champions and the US’s premier sports channel ESPN will be airing the event on ESPN2 on July 20.

Other successful NZ schools teams were from Feilding High School and Nakibots team from New Plymouth.