April 2024

VEX Robotics Update

On Friday 12 April our Mt Roskill Member of Parliament, Dr Carlos Cheung, visited our two Lynfield College Robotics teams who are travelling to Dallas, Texas next week to compete in the VEX Robotics World Championships 2024. It was great to meet Dr Cheung who was very impressed by the work the teams have put in and the robots they will be taking to the United States. Dr Cheung wished them success for their exciting journey.

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What is VEX Robotics?

VEX Robotics targets STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Teams design, build, program, and drive robots to compete in specific competition challenges.

Middle School and High School level students are required to build and program an 18” by 18” by 18” robot (it can expand beyond this size). Students program their robots using VEXCode or Pro’s, a C based coding language especially for robotics. The robots must compete in both autonomous and driver control elements.

Here is a link to the VEX Robotics Competition 2023/24 sessions game.

VEX regional scrimmages are held throughout the competitive season which runs from May to February. This gives students the opportunity to problem solve and improve their robots before the New Zealand National Championships in February. The successful teams can then compete in the International Worlds Championship, this year being held in Dallas, Texas, USA.

Here is a link to the VEX Worlds Experience 2023.

VEX Robotics is an area where New Zealand students excel. In recent years, Lynfield College teams have won several awards at Worlds. New Zealand teams are highly regarded and frequently recognised among their peers throughout the world.

Rajal Sharma wins Silver in Archery

Congratulations to Rajal Sharma who participated at the 80th National Outdoor Archery Championships held in Hamilton over the Easter weekend. He won a Silver medal in the U18 men’s compound division shooting at the 50 meter distance.

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April is Autism Awareness Month

The Maori word for autism is takiwatanga (in his/her/their own time and space)

The United Nations General Assembly declared 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day to highlight the need to help improve the quality of life of those with autism so they can lead full and meaningful lives as an integral part of society.

We missed celebrating that day due to the Easter holiday, however we have this whole month to raise our awareness of autism. If you want to know more about autism, there are lots of clips on Youtube. Here is one which promotes awareness as it features young people with autism explaining how they feel: https://youtu.be/IApo5TBR7jc?si=i0qOmiRTDV8oHtmW

A few facts about ASD (Autism Spectrum disorder) in Aotearoa:

  • There is an estimated 320000 neurodivergent young people in our country
  • It is estimated that 20% of our young people are neurodivergent (10% dyslexic, 5% have ADHD, 5% gifted and 2% of these have ASD)
  • Many neurodivergent people have more than one of these neurological differences (ASD, ADHD, Dyslexia or other learning challenges)
  • Around 50% of these had to work out for themselves, as their challenges weren’t noticed by others
  • Most Neurodivergent people mask, they work really hard to hide their challenges and fit in
  • There are neurological differences, different wiring, in the brains of all neurodivergent people
  • Many neurodivergent people become highly knowledgeable and highly skilled in a range of specific areas
  • 20% of diagnoses of neurodivergent people happen after they leave school

You probably know and work with people on the spectrum, we are all around. Here are a few famous people that have been diagnosed with ASD:

Sir Anthony Hopkins, Daryl Hannah, Dan Akroyd, Courtney Love, Susan Boyle, Greta Thunberg, Satoshi Tajiri, Eminem, Tim Burton, Elon Musk, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Andy Warhol and Clay Marzo and Mary Temple Grandin.

Malo e lelei, Talofa Lava, Kia orana,
Bula and Warm Pacific Greetings

Our recent Fiafia/Talanoa evening on Wednesday 3 April was a resounding success! Celebrating the academic achievements of our Pacifica students while also showcasing the talents of our cultural groups was a wonderful way to honour both academic excellence and their cultural heritage.

The performances by our Samoan, Cook Island, Fijian, and Tongan groups were a highlight of the evening, showcasing grace, beauty, and pride in their respective cultures. 

Events like this not only recognize the hard work and dedication of students and their families but also strengthen bonds within the community and instil pride in cultural identity.

Ending the evening with a shared meal was a beautiful way to bring everyone together and further celebrate the accomplishments of our students. 

It was fantastic to see the acknowledgement extended to students, families, tutors, and teachers for their support and commitment to making the event a success. It's clear that events like this play an essential role in building a supportive and inclusive community within our school. 

Congratulations on a successful evening, we look forward to planning the upcoming Talanoa in Term 2!
Many thanks to Ms van Heeswijk for her beautiful photographs.

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