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Fort St. John

NPSS students place fifth at national robotics competition

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Two students from North Peace Secondary School managed a big finish at the Skills Canada National Competition in Edmonton this week.

Jacob Van Volkenberg and Liam Stregger, along with teacher Brant Churchill represented Team B.C. and the Peace Region in the Robotics competition at Skills Canada on Monday and Tuesday. Churchill said that the pair competed in the competition both with a robot they designed in advance, as well as with one they build during the two days of competing.

“There’s two main parts. One part worth 49 percent of their final grade that they knew about, and the other worth 51 percent was to build an autonomous robot for three challenges that they found out on the first day they got there,” said Churchill.

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Liam Stregger and Jacob Van Volkenberg pose with btheir pre-built robot and teacher Brant Churchill ahead of this week’s Skills Canada Robotics competition. Supplied photo

The first day and a half, Stregger and Van Volkenberg competed in a round robin competition using their pre-built robot to perform tasks on a scaled-down oil well site. Churchill said that initially, some of their robot’s parts weren’t working properly, but the two persevered and adapted, improving as the competition progressed. The duo ended up finishing in 6th place at the end of the tournament.

Between tournament competitions, the pair also built and programmed another robot that needed to perform three separate tasks autonomously, using sensors to perform those tasks without any remote control. Churchill said that the two excelled enough in the autonomous part of the competition to advance and place 5th at the end of the two-day competition.

Churchill said that he’s incredibly proud of the two, who are already said to be planning to improve on their success at next year’s competition.