Romecup was a buzz word in Year 10 for the Savio Robotics Team. I’m proud to say that I was one of the 8 members of this team. For me, it was an unforgettable experience, one of the best I’ve had so far in my life. It was hard work spending six months building and fine-tuning our robots but the satisfaction that this brought with it and the friendships that I made were second to none.

Romecup is a European competition that is held annually in Rome where teams compete with their originally designed robots in line-following and light-chasing competitions. Mr Axisa, our computing and robotics teacher, was instrumental for our success. He was our tutor, preparing us all the way for this competition. Before we set off designing and making our robots, he had to pass on to us some of his expertise. We had to master the CAD design program FreeCAD. We learnt how to use a driller and solder delicate wires using a solder iron, something that I had never done before in my life. Never before had I ever imagined that I would be doing such things other than coding the robot, but I did!

We set off to create our robots. We formed two groups which would take care of the line-following and the light-chasing competitions respectively. The line-following competition involved a robot that had to be programmed to follow a black line through an obstacle course. At the end of this, the robot then needed to find silver-coated plastic balls inside the arena, collect them and deposit them in a specified corner. The light-chasing competition required the robot to detect light sources set inside boxes that were randomly scattered throughout the arena. These tasks were daunting for all the team due to the complexity of the tasks and time constraints. Teamwork was crucial in this whole process. However, in the end, we managed to give our utmost to make our robots work as perfectly as possible.

Excitement built up especially as the date of the competition drew closer. We had to perfect the robots on time, dismantle them, pack them to be able to transport them safely with us to Rome. It was exciting but also scary to travel abroad to compete with teams who were by far older than us. However, when we arrived in Rome, we were all ecstatic and over the moon when we put our robots to the test, and they worked! Both teams did well. However, we also had some disappointments when the robots did not execute the commands as we had programmed them to do. But I believe this is all part of the game and part of the learning experience. The line-following team managed to reach the finals and secure the fifth place. Hard work had paid off! After so many struggles and so much pain, the Savio Robotics Team had succeeded. Team spirit was at its best!

Romecup also meant fun. After the competition was over, we had adventures in the city of Rome. We rode some bicycles in a garden close to the zoo. We went shopping to buy stuff for us and our families back home. Visiting some famous monuments like the Colosseum was unforgettable. The laughs, jokes and giggles are still echoing in my head.

Romecup was a life lesson for me. Success does not only mean winning a competition, but it means learning to deal with disappointments and supporting your team-mates throughout. Believing in yourself and doing your best is the greatest result you can ever get.

Luca De Gabriele