Grace Robotics: Future Focussed

News - Jul 02, 2021

It is no secret that Grace is home to a loyal fan-base of Robotics enthusiasts. From their in-house studies to extra-curricular programs, students and staff at Grace continue to push the bounds of classroom robotics - not just within their cohort, but across the country.

For many years Grace has been the proud host of the FIRST Tech Challenge National Championship. This event sees teams of students from all over Australia converge on our Rothwell campus for the annual tournament day, in addition to a number of related prepatory and preliminary events. 

2020 saw the event migrate online for the first time since it's inception, with Grace supporting the flock of attendees through a new, fully digital platform spearheaded by our Head of Community & Innovation, Mr Peter Kellett.

Last year Grace fully deployed an online platform to make [the 2020 FIRST Tech Challenge National Championship] happen... something that was not an easy task logistically.

For many the Grace Robotics program is a well-known but little celebrated initiative, and one that has had big impacts beyond the bounds of Grace.

Grace has been playing in the Robotics space since 2008. We were the first school in Australia to host the FIRST Tech Challenge and the FIRST LEGO League event… now this event runs in over 50 schools across Australia.

It is this impact that encourages staff such as Mr Kellett to continue to push the bounds of robotics in schools, and encourage other communities to do the same. For students, opportunities offered through Robotics programs are invaluable. Whether it be building a ‘bot’ to complete a real-world task, exploring programming and coding, or gaming against others in the arena, each get to explore the various applications of this technology in a rapidly changing world. 

At Grace, these programs also encourage the students to make connections with other future innovators – allowing all involved to grow in the process. 

Grace developed the first FIRST Robotics Competition robot in Queensland in 2015 – this is the highest level of school-based robotics in the world.  We are still the only school in Queensland with an FRC team, however we have found partner schools St Peter’s Lutheran College and Brisbane Grammar School.

[Grace students] have represented Australia in the world largest robotics event (FIRST Global Challenge) since the inaugural event in 2017.  Events have been held in Washington DC, Mexico City, Dubai and in 2020 online due to COVID… we’re proud to say Grace has won a Silver Medal at every event.

Through these partnerships, Grace students and their extended teams have seen their share of international recognition. Innovate Moreton Bay is an avid supporter of the initiative, as are the countless STEM authorities eager to encourage such learning opportunities in schools. As these programs continue to grow, it is heartening to all involved to see the impact extend beyond Grace and into the greater community.

For Mr Kellett, a large part of this success and growth comes back to the execution of the program.  

Grit, Growth, Grace is at the core of our robotics programs. Grace Lutheran College [and FIRST Australia] don’t use kids to build robots – we use robots to build kids.

Robotics at Grace has likely been one of the most engaging community programs that the College has ever undertaken.  Since 2014 the work of our College has impacted over 5000 students from over 200 schools.

[We] look forward to the reintroduction of National events.  Open boarders should mean a return to normality, but things can change quickly and Grace will be ready to respond as it did at the start of 2020…[still] it has been a tremendous journey and we look forward to a bright future.

To learn more about the partnerships and Robotics offerings at Grace, visit our First Robotics Partnership page.

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