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Robot builders win some, lose some

Langley brothers walk away from world championship with prize money for their fundraising video

Aspiring Willoughby engineers Noah and Jacob St. Jean didn’t walk away from the world robotics championships in Texas with a first-place win.

But the R.E. Mountain Secondary siblings were still triumphant on an unexpected front.

The duo are part of a community robotics team, called #16267 Forces Unknown, made up of 10 Lower Mainland high school students. The team recently competed on the international platform in Texas.

Nearly 7,000 teams competed all around the world during the 2022-2023 robotics season, with only the top 192 teams advancing to the world championships in Houston, explained their mother, Erin St. Jean.

“So going to Houston means we were in the top three per cent of all [those] teams worldwide. Wow!” Mom boasted, noting more than 18,000 students from 59 countries competed for that chance with their team-built robots.

The local team – one of two from B.C. (the other from Victoria) invited to Texas – finished ranked 32 in robot games and 12 in individual robot performances.

“Not too shabby,” Erin said. “Did they win first place? Nope. But it was still an awesome life experience.”

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There was a related win the Forces Unknown team will take, in connection with this competition.

One of the ways they were attempting to fundraise for their trip was to enter a video in a WorkSafeBC contest.

The video, entitled Rob’s First Day, stars both Jacob and Noah. Jacob also wrote the script, acted as both of the puppets, and did all the video editing, Erin explained.

“He is a creative dynamo,” she said of her youngest boy.

Turns out they tied for first in the province-wide student safety video contest (in the Grade 8 to 10 level) and earned a total of $4,500 and the opportunity to advance to the national level on competition, explained Robin Schooley, an occupational health and safety consultant from WorkSafe, who coordinated the contest.

“In total, we received 73 entries, so you should feel particularly proud given the tough competition this year! Your video was an original, creative, and fun interpretation of the contest theme. So many of our judges loved it,” Schooley told the local team.

Their video will now be entered in the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety’s national contest, where the winner will be announced in June.

“So, I guess you win some, you lose some,” shared Mom.

RELATED: Robots smash each other at Langley Events Centre


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Roxanne Hooper

About the Author: Roxanne Hooper

I began in the news industry at age 15, but honestly, I knew I wanted to be a community journalist even before that.
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