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St Mary's School Pune

When we the members of SM Tech 6.0 learnt that we would be going to Australia for the First Tech Challenge (FTC) - Asia Pacific Invitational, we were ecstatic. It was a great honour to be representing India and our school, in the field of Robotics.

We were in a mad rush: working for sponsorships, giving final touches to the Robot, doing Community Outreach, completing our Engineering log and a million other small bits and pieces of preparation. And to add to the nervous excitement was the fact that our visas for Australia did not arrive until a few days before our intended flight out of India.

Time seemed to fly and finally the much anticipated departure date arrived. We had a wonderful farewell at the school. The first leg of the trip itself presented problems with the robot case being too heavy; we had to dismantle the robot at the Airlines check-in counter. The rest of the journey was uneventful and after 14 odd hours we reached the beautiful city of Sydney.

We spent the next day reassembling our Robot, prepping for the Judges inspection and the actual tournament. Our inspection and Judges Interviews went well. and at the matches we made it to the Quarter Finals. The 2 days of the tournament were streamed live and so our families back home could share the excitement. The female members of the various participating teams had a Ladies’ tea sponsored by Google where the importance of women being an integral part of STEAM was stressed. It was exciting to interact with teams from so many different cultures and nationalities. We made new friends and learnt how to conduct ourselves on a global platform . On the final day of the competition, the awards ceremony took place and we were delighted that we won a specially constituted Judges Award for Spreading STEAM in the community and for our Engineering log. The Judges also liked the Edge of Virtual Reality we displayed using Creo and Euphoria software.

We spend the last day doing a bit of sightseeing, visiting the Taronga Zoo which houses a variety of birds and animals as well as a visit to the Sydney Observatory where we did a tour of the dome, planetarium as well as a telescopic view of the night skies of the Southern Hemisphere.

It was in all a fantastic trip full of learning, hard work, fun and achievement.