Freemason support to Tauranga Boys’ College Robotics Club

773
Representatives of the Masonic Lodges in Tauranga after their $1,100 donation, topped up to $1,500 by Nelson Tkatch (eSuccess Strategies), to the Tauranga Boys' College Robotics Club. From left: Joshuah Badshah (year 12), William Bruning (year 10), Cesar Vargas-Tuerlings (year 9), Nelson Tkatch (Junior Warden), William Kennedy (Treasurer & Webmaster), Braden Smith (year 9), John Denne (Lodge Master), Rodney Graham (Senior Steward), Ron Pibworth (Past Master), Darren Bruning (Robotics Team Leader), John Lever (Secretary), Annmarie Lawler (English and Design Teacher, Tauranga Boys' College). Photo credit: Antoon Moonen, Bay Waka.
Representatives of the Masonic Lodges in Tauranga after their $1,100 donation, topped up to $1,500 by Nelson Tkatch (eSuccess Strategies), to the Tauranga Boys' College Robotics Club. From left: Joshuah Badshah (year 12), William Bruning (year 10), Cesar Vargas-Tuerlings (year 9), Nelson Tkatch (Junior Warden), William Kennedy (Treasurer & Webmaster), Braden Smith (year 9), John Denne (Lodge Master), Rodney Graham (Senior Steward), Ron Pibworth (Past Master), Darren Bruning (Robotics Team Leader), John Lever (Secretary), Annmarie Lawler (English and Design Teacher, Tauranga Boys' College). Photo credit: Antoon Moonen, Bay Waka.

Launching Robotics at Tauranga Boys’ College

2017 has seen the successful launch of Robotics at Tauranga Boys’ College thanks to generous funding from Kiwibots, Tauranga’s Masonic Lodges, e-Success Strategies, Brother and Tauranga Boys’ College (TBC).

Potential to compete on the world stage

Our first team of 4 boys has created a robot, affectionately known as Moonbeam, to take part in this year’s VEX EDR competition. The name of the game this year is “In the zone”, and the robot needs to be able to pick up cones and put them on mobile base stations, then score the base stations in various zones around the playing field.

The VEX season runs from April to April, culminating in a world championship event in Kentucky, USA. Our club started partway into the VEX season, which meant that although we were short on time, we were able to learn from the early season robots that other teams had revealed.

Team effort all round

Our team of 4 has specific roles: a builder (William Bruning), programmer (Joshua Badshah), and two drivers (Cesar Vargas-Tuerlings and Braden Smith). In reality all of the boys learned building skills and while Joshua pioneered the coding, the rest of the team are competent understudies.

Tauranga Boys’ College Robot ‘Moonenbeam’ demonstrates cone stacking ability.

3rd Place in recent local scrimmage

There are some very established teams in the NZ competition and we’ve set ourselves modest goals for our first year. An early-season reconnaissance trip to watch a scrimmage in Auckland had the team buzzing with ideas, and we were stoked to take out 3rd place in a local BOP scrimmage in September.

NZ Nationals – April 2018

In December the biggest robotics competition ever held in the Southern Hemisphere will be taking place in Rotorua. 300+ teams from 10 countries will be competing in the Asia Pacific Robotics Championships. Team Moonbeam will be there and we are looking to use this event to build our skills towards the NZ Nationals in April 2018.

Acknowledgements

Huge thanks go to our teacher Annmarie Lawler, support teacher David Jackson, and parents Darren Bruning and Kathie Mackie-Smith for the awesome support for the Robotics Team which wouldn’t have happened without their efforts. We’d also like to acknowledge the support of Paul & Toni de Rijk at the House of Science Robotics Club, for allowing us to join in their “build sessions” on Saturday mornings and who have generously shared their robotics expertise with our team.

For more information

We have setup a facebook page at facebook.com/tbcrc and Braden Smith is working on a website to summarise the work of the Robotics Team and this can be viewed at https://bs17078.wixsite.com/robotics.

By Darren Bruning