Bot squad off to LA

FOUR lucky pupils flew to America on Wednesday to build a robot. Florence Beaumont, Jack Kemp, David O Dell, and Bonnie Pickard are representing Great Britain in a three-day robotic convention in Los Angeles. The students, all 14 years old and from Barcla

FOUR lucky pupils flew to America on Wednesday to build a robot.

Florence Beaumont, Jack Kemp, David O'Dell, and Bonnie Pickard are representing Great Britain in a three-day robotic convention in Los Angeles.

The students, all 14 years old and from Barclay School, Stevenage, are competing in the Great Western Union competition against American high schools.

To win, they must create a robot capable of surviving a series of challenges, including an obstacle course.


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The school, which specialises in technology, was already competing in a British tournament when the sponsor, missile systems company MBDA, suggested the trip to California.

Barclay headteacher Russell Ball explained that he wanted to move away from the traditional teaching day and when he told the students about the competition they were over the moon.

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He said: "I told them that I wanted them to do a competition and they were okay with that, then I told them it was going to be in LA.

"The expression on their faces was fantastic. They were gobsmacked."

The lucky four were chosen because of their talent for science and technology.

Mr Ball said: "This represents a wonderful opportunity for the students to both see the world and utilise the science and technology aptitude that they clearly have."

MBDA, Chelton Raydomes, Stevenage Community Trust and the Rotary Club of Stevenage Grange are sponsoring the trip leaving the pupils with only their flights to pay for.

After the competition the four will spend two days attending an American high school and two days with their American host families enjoying the life of a typical American teenager.

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