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Liskeard Robotics Team Battles Through Delays and Triumphs at STEM Competition

On Thursday 14th March, a team of six innovators, engineers and coders, led once again by Reuben Monks, embarked on a trip of excitement, discovery and adversity bound for RNAS Culdrose in Helston. Despite being crammed with provisions and their all-important robotic leviathan, K9, the team faced delays due to heavy rain and roadworks, arriving 45 minutes behind schedule. At least Liskeard wasn't the last school to arrive – contestants continued to flood in (a bit like the rain) from all over the county. There was a huge turnout this year with hundreds of contestants and scores of teams.

After a quick trial run or two on the practice track, our contestants had to impress the judges with their presentation skills, planning and teamwork. Holly Whitford did an impressive job presenting the journey's challenges and their final robot design, her presentation punctuated by Toby Robinson's dry wit that humorously embellished the narrative. Despite the usual technical hitches, the team rose admirably to the challenge, creating a unique solution for the arena. Their robot, instead of completing missions independently, connected the code into one long sequential task – a bold move that relied heavily on the near-atomic accuracy of the coders (Reuben Monks, Toby Robinson, Eddy Champness and Paige Ryan) and robot positional expert Onyx Vince.

After another hour or two of code tweaking, the robot was fully prepared to take on the challenge and rolled optimistically towards the battleground, bristling with upgrades. Its mission was simply to complete as many preordained tasks as possible in under four minutes. However, consistency was a factor, and the subtle differences in traction and obstacle placement between the training course and the real arena challenged the code design. Despite technical hitches, we scored highly. Sadly, it wasn't enough to secure a trophy this year. Team Liskeard was praised by the judges for their unique approach, their indomitable spirit and team values, as well as the kindness they extended to rival teams by way of technical support.

It was a fantastic opportunity and all team members excelled as ambassadors for the school and paragons of STEM innovation – well done all!