Junior Shize Yan will represent China – and St. Andrew’s – in this weekend’s World Robot Olympiad in Costa Rica.
Yan ‘19 and his team advanced to the global competition after winning first place at a contest this summer in Wuhan, China. World Robot Olympiad challenges youth to design and build a LEGO MINDSTORMS robot that will complete a series of tasks. This year, the challenge focuses on sustainability.
“This game is not only about your solid programming and building techniques. It’s also about your imagination and your creativity,” Yan said.
Yan’s team will join more than 400 groups competing in various robotics contests in Costa Rica, ranging from an advanced design challenge to football. He is confident his team will perform well, but regardless of the outcome, he said WRO will be a great opportunity to learn.
“In addition to fighting to win, I’m also looking forward to a chance to learn and be inspired by other teams’ designs,” he said.
Kim O’Shaughnessy, Head of the Science Department, said competing at WRO is significant, noting the contest has set the standard for programs like FIRST LEGO League, which O’Shaughnessy launched at St. Andrew’s this year.
“What he’s doing is just exceptional - beyond exceptional,” she said. “He has been living, breathing, sleeping this. It’s extraordinary.”
Yan has shared his expertise with the Intermediate and Middle School FIRST LEGO League teams, teaching them the basics of programming after school.
“Robots don’t care what your primary language is, but to be here at St. Andrew’s and working in a foreign language...his work is exceptional,” she said.
Yan, an international student, said studying at St. Andrew’s has afforded him academic balance, allowing him to pursue interests outside the classroom like robotics.
“St. Andrew’s has definitely given me more freedom to do whatever is beneficial for my career as a student,” he said.
The World Robot Olympiad begins Friday and concludes on Sunday in Costa Rica.