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February marked one of the most competitive and well-patronized robotics competition last 18th at Knutsford University College, Legon in Accra. The main schools in Ghana in terms of Science and Engineering locked horns in a fierce Robotics competition.
In all, 12 schools competed; Wesley Girls, St. Augustines, Prempeh College, Archbishop Porter Girls, Aburi Girls, Methodist girls, SOS High, St. Francis Xavier, Christian High and St. James seminary, from which Presbyterian boys came out as the best in all two categories (Robohit and BottleSUMO). Mr. Koffie-Ocloo Woelorm, the coordinator of PRESEC Robotics, established their preparedness for the program during the course of the competition and invited one of his competitors (Erzoah–Cudjoe Frank), to be interacted with. Below is a vivid account (unedited) of what happened by Frank:
The national Robohit 2017 competition was on 18th of February, 2017. We left the school quiet early after a short breakfast from the dining hall. We got to the venue at about 8:39AM. Alas!
There we were, looking at the marvelous design of Knutsford University College, Legon. Most of the schools had not arrived and little did we know that the two schools, Prempeh and Archbishop Porter Girls, both from two ends of the country, would be our greatest rivals.
After about thirty minutes of waiting at the entrance, we were signalled by a man who stood on the last floor to come inside.
Knutsford University College was not too big but its interior was complex in its own way. We were led to the conference room and were the first to be seated.
It was rather natural that the Presidents of the Presec Robotics Club(Jeremiah Fiagbedzi and Benedict Amoko) led us for a short prayer.
That was when Methodist Girls, who had just arrived seized the opportunity to test their robots on the mat which was provided on stage and was later used for the main competition.
One by one, competing schools and dignitaries walked into the room till almost every seat was occupied. To be honest, it was nerve-racking watching other schools enter in their numbers, especially Prempeh College, who by “flamboyance” and boastful tendencies claimed to be the best when it came to Robotics because they came with all forms of complex robots since it was my first time competing in such a competition, I was quiet intimidated.
However, that came to an end after I looked at my uniform and reminded myself I was Presecan, after all, “In Thy Light We Shall See Light”, so there was no room for fear.
The program began soon after the judges were seated, two of which were old students of PRESEC. The MCs for the event were Doctor Yao and Sir Michael, all executive members of Ghana Robotics Academy Foundation (GRAF), the institution which organized the competition.
The competition was in two categories; Robohit, which we presented two teams; Presbot, led by Stephen Sarfo Ntow and Bright Ofori and Precision; of which Gilbert Yankey and I were heads. The second part of the competition was BottleSUMO, which came off as preparation for the original international competition.
At about 11:09AM, Doctor Yaw Okraku-Yirenkyi announced it was time for competing schools to test their robots before they were quarantined, where the dimensions of therobots were taken and confirmed to be within the limit of the rules. The total time for testing the robots was thirty-minutes (30 mins). For my group, both tries were successful.
The first round of the competition began with team Turqoise, a team from Archbishop Porter Girls Secondary School. Quiet amazingly, they scored all hundred points with a time of 48 seconds. They intimidated all other schools but not us because we knew for sure that we would beat their time.
Subsequent schools also had their turns but none of them scored all hundred points and St Augustines were disqualified. It was finally our turn and by the count of Sir Michael (the leader of the officiating team), we started our robot. Our robot completed all tasks successfully and got back to the starting home base within 32.69 seconds! We were very thrilled.
We had a break of 20 minutes and for lunch, we were given Jollof. We were given thirty-minutes to prepare for the second and final round.
This time, there was no order for competing schools to test their robots and so everyone rushed to get a try, which I believe was a flaw on the part of the organisers. We got no chance to test our robot before placing it on the quarantine table when it was time for the second round to begin.
For the second round, team turquoise failed to repeat their previous success and scored 85 points. It was time for team Precision, my team, to go and run our robot for scoring. All eyes were fixed on us as we started the robot and without missing anything, we scored all 100 points for the second round but this time with a time of 30.6 seconds. We were very happy.
Fortunately for us, Prempeh’s last team failed to score all 100 points for the second round, automatically placing us first for the 2017 edition of the annual Robofest National Qualifiers. For the Bottle Sumo division, the Form ones (1st years) did us proud by placing first against Ghana Christian High International School.
All other schools present like Wesley Girls, St. Augustines School and Prempeh College did not compete for that division since it involved all manner of complex calculations and robotic experience. The Lord was indeed on our side and brought us victory.
After the closing prayer by a student of Wesley girls, the competition officially came to an end. We took a lot of pictures and celebrated our victory; we had lots of fun till we were informed that our bus had arrived. We said a prayer of thanksgiving to the Almighty Lord after we were all seated and headed back to the school. We arrived at about 6:30PM.
The competition was quiet a success for us after all the previous days of hard work and nights of sleeplessness. Mr. Koffie-Ocloo D. Woelorm (Sir Carlos), Mr. Ansah William Ato, Madam Cynthia Amankwah and Sir Alpha Adotey Pappoe, tutors who went with us, also did their best to give us their support and encouragement throughout the course of the competition.
After the long interaction with Frank, Mr. Koffie-Ocloo also took his turn to thank Organisers for giving the students such opportunities and prayed GES would actually see something good out of Robotics, and that, the world was gearing towards autonomous creations.
He also used the opportunity to express thanks to Lady Queene Asiedu-Akrofi, Ato Alson and the old boys, Intellitek and all who keep supporting the course of Presec Robotics. Source: Opticom Media
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