This story was originally written and submitted by Bob Yan P’24. If you have a story about your student that you are interested in sharing with the School, please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
First-year student Bo “Eric” Yan ’24 recently won the VEX Robotics Competition Championship in the finals of the 2020 World Robot Contest (WRC), a competition widely acclaimed by mainstream media as the Olympics of robotics competitions, competing under the name of The White Mountain School. Held since 2015, the 2020 WRC Finals—held this year on December 3 in Foshan, China—attracted more than 120,000 competitors from over 20 countries around the world, retaining its status as the largest official global robotics competition. The VEX Championship is one of many sub-tournaments at the WRC and is also one of the most influential global robotics tournaments.
As part of the Vex Championship, Eric and his teammate competed in a challenge called Change Up against other contestants on a 12’x12’field. In Change Up, there are 16 red and 16 blue balls, and 9 goals placed around the field. The ball must hit a goal to be scored, and each team occupies a goal of the same color. If a team wins three goals in any direction (vertical, horizontal, or diagonal), they can acquire a six-point bonus for a connected row. According to the rules, all teams must independently design intelligent robots with different functions, mainly on automatic robots and manually controlled robots, and then compete with other teams in two-minute matches.
Eric and his teammate finished in fifth place in the qualifying round. In the knockout, they successfully got through to the second round where they would face the top qualifying team. In the automatic part, the pair encountered a tricky situation when their robot suddenly had a minor malfunction. However, Eric and his teammate quickly recovered from this challenge and regained the lead in the closing seconds of the game. In the championship and runner-up final, they played steadily and strategically to victory. This championship win was the best possible outcome for the pair after three months of designing, constructing, and refining their robot. Just two days before the WRC, they only rested 2-3 hours each day in order to debug the robot and prepare it for peak performance during the competition. The Vex Championship win validated these months of constant dedication.
White Mountain was honored, along with Fuzhou No.8 High School, and appeared on the official championship certificates presented to Eric and his teammate. The pair have been supported in their work by teacher Lin Qiang from Create Future Robots Club.
Eric has been interested in robots for over a decade and has been participating in VEX Robotics Competitions since the fifth grade. In 2017, he won the gold award in the VEX Robotics World Championship Final. In recalling that experience, he says: “I saw all kinds of robots from all over the world, and everyone communicated happily, just like a big party.” At that time, he told himself that he must stand on the stage of the VEX Robotics World Championship Final again. Now he is very close to his goal.
Next, Eric will continue to play in the regional selection of the 2021 VEX Robotics World Championship. We wish him luck and success in his progression toward the finals.
Founded in 1886 and set in the beautiful White Mountains of northern New Hampshire, The White Mountain School is a gender-inclusive, college-preparatory boarding and day school for 140 students grades 9-12/PG. Our mission is to be a school of inquiry and engagement. Grounded in an Episcopal heritage, White Mountain prepares and inspires students to lead lives of curiosity, courage, and compassion.