A total of 11 Queen’s students are set to represent Nigeria at the Lego League Asia Pacific Open Championship in Sydney, Australia.
The girls had in 2021, at their maiden attempt, clinched the coveted first-place position in the Robotics National Competition which qualified them to represent Nigeria in Greece for the FLL international championship
They could not make it because of COVID-19 restrictions in Greece.
The students had also in 2022 after an outstanding performance, secured the 2nd Runner up position in another fiercely competitive Robotics National Competition that again qualified them to represent the country in Brazil for the same championship.
Reacting to the development, the Director/Principal, of the college, Mrs Onyindamola Obabori, said on one of the occasions, the girls could not make it because of lack of funds.
“Today, 11 of my girls are leaving the shores to go and represent Nigeria in the competition, Sydney Australia.
“The girls are leaving under the aegis of Queen’s College Team Aurora, a leading advocate for promoting diversity and excellence in STEAM education.
“This development is giving me great feelings, excitement, pride and very happy.
“This is because the girls have qualified severally in competitions, Greece and Brazil, but due to one reason or the other, funds especially, could not attend.
“I felt this could be demoralizing them and may not be making efforts to push the frontiers of technology in the country.
“Their groundbreaking work not only inspires future generations of young women in STEAM but also serves as a testament to the power of diversity and inclusion in the field of robotics,” the principal added.
She noted that building on the previous successes of the girls in robotic championships, and their eventual qualification for this year, she decided to take a step further by approaching corporate bodies and the Old girls of the college, on how to support the girls in ensuring that they fulfilled their dreams.
“I contacted the Old girls of the college and immediately, they took it over and did a massive campaign for funds to facilitate their travel and that is where we are today. They did so much in this regard. They indeed delivered. We also got assistance from corporate bodies. They all made it happen, and I must say I am very happy about that.
“The innovative approach of the girls to robotics and their ability to adapt to changing circumstances truly set them apart from their peers.
”I expect that these girls will come back with at least one award. This is to know that we mean business here at Queen’s College. Left to me, I will want them to come back home with the choicest prize,” she stated.
She noted that aside from robotic challenges, the girls would also be competing in cultural displays.
Obabori however called on all stakeholders to join hands with the Federal Government in supporting and promoting science and technology in schools across the country.
According to her, though the Federal Government is the driver of policies, it could, alongside other stakeholders, step up efforts in ensuring that the country takes its rightful position in the world of technology.
”What I think is that we are far behind other countries in the world, in terms of science and technology.
“When other countries were talking about sciences, we were docile. But by the time we decided to wake up or develop to that level, they have moved to technology.
“Now, we have entered technology, so, slowly, we are now in robotics, coding and all. So, I want us to probably just try to increase our pace to be at par with the world in terms of robotics and coding. All hands must be on deck,” the principal stated.
Also speaking, the head of the delegation, Mrs Temitayo Makindipe, Vice President 2, of the Queen’s College Old Girls Association (QCOGA) said she picked up the fundraising role to ensure that the opportunity does not pass the students by.
According to her, the botched previous years’ qualifications for the championship in both Brazil and Greece, was an eye opener of what the girls had in stock for themselves, the college, Nigeria, and the world at large.
”I decided to put on the role of fundraising and project manager for Queen’s College Team Aurora for this trip to Australia. This, of course, is not the first time they are qualifying.
“Funding has been one of the challenges in seeing their dream through to the international stage. So, as an engineer, I want to encourage girls. So, I took it upon myself, that I will start a fundraising drive and gradually, God blessed the effort and here are today.
“The Old girls donated toward this cause hugely, and so too, did some corporate bodies.
“These girls are going to participate in robotics and I had challenged the team before now, that I want them to produce a robot that can sweep the corridors, which I felt they will do after their return from the competition in Australia.
“This was not to be, as they went ahead and started something. This innovation is something that we can sell to the country and the world. It is already happening. People are doing it but, what the girls have come up with, is the first I have seen that has been made here in Nigeria,” she said.
According to her, about 50 teams drawn from various parts of the world, including Korea, America and Japan are expected to participate in the championship.
She expressed optimism at the success of the girls at the championship, even though it was the first time that Nigeria was going to be represented at this particular championship of various categories.
She stated that the girls were ready to take on the world in the various categories and therefore had chances to return with at least a trophy.
According to vice president 2, a total of 10 of the girls would actively participate in the championship, while one of them will be a student observer.
Miss Damilola Ekundayo, team captain of the robotics squad, “Team Aurora” said they were fully prepared to make a nation.
She described Aurora as a natural phenomenon in the sky, a beautiful display of light, that only happens in the northern sky around the winter period.
The team captain noted that she was 85 percent confident of their success in the course of the 14 days championship.
She highlighted the strength of the team’s cultural performance as one of their areas of excellence, describing it as one of a kind.
“This is so in the sense that we are going to showcase our typical cultural dances, in Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa.
“I will also say our core values are another area where we will showcase who we are as a people. Being Nigerians, we have very high respect for value. So, there is teamwork, discovery, innovation, and impact, we work as a team, even though we are from different grades.
“We are a mixture of junior and senior classes. I am in my final year for instance. But we are all together,” Ekundayo said.