STEM champions from Merrimac State High School and their robot friend ‘Pepper’ travelled to Parliament House in Brisbane today to meet Education Minister Grace Grace and celebrate their recent success at the World Robotic Summit in Tokyo.

Minister Grace first met with the talented Gold Coast students in August, before they travelled to Japan to defend their competition title from 2017.

“Congratulations to these outstanding students from Merrimac High School who are, quite clearly, world-leaders when it comes to robotics and coding,” Ms Grace said.

“I am so proud to say that Queensland students are shining bright on the world stage in this field.

“Not content with winning the Junior Trial Competition for Robotic Programming last year, the school sent two teams this year, comprising of eight current and three past students.

“The students and alumni should be incredibly proud of how they have represented their school, their state and their country.

“Team 1 was asked to design and build their own robot to conquer a complex obstacle course, and interact with other robots over five days of gruelling competition.

“Team 2 developed a unique concept to use a humanoid robot to teach Literacy and Numeracy to Prep students.

“Both teams were presented awards for best coding and solution documentation, and team 2 was further recognised with an exclusive award for outstanding code from the Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence.

“Clearly Queensland students are beating Japanese students at their own game and I take my hat off to the Merrimac students and teachers for their remarkable achievements. Well done!”

Merrimac State High School Principal Chris Tobin said their success was a result of three years of hard work developing a world class STEAM program, which incorporates Arts and Enterprise into the traditional STEM disciplines.

“We are extremely proud of the work that is being undertaken both in educating our students and in sharing our coding and robotics know-how locally and globally,” Mr Tobin said.

“Both of our teams performed incredibly well in Japan, and demonstrated their excellent skills in coding, engineering, developing logic and program solving.

“We believe our school is preparing students for the emerging technological society, and hope we can assist more schools in the future to have the same confidence and capability in robotics and STEM within their school community.”

Ms Grace said the school’s success is a testament to the Queensland Government’s focus on STEM, including coding and robotics.

“We are committed to teaching robotics and coding and developing digital literacy to prepare students for the jobs of the future,” she said.

“For example, we have created a ‘Robotics for the future’ lending library and virtual studio so schools can access 16 humanoid robots to teach coding and robotics.”

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