‘Sultans of Türkiye’ wins prestigious robotics award in US

‘Sultans of Türkiye’ wins prestigious robotics award in US

Esra Ülkar – ISTANBUL
‘Sultans of Türkiye’ wins prestigious robotics award in US

A high school robotics club from Istanbul won an international award at the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) held in Houston, Texas, in the United States on April 20.

The “Sultans of Türkiye” robotics team from Istanbul’s Darüşşafaka High School – a campus open only to orphans and the children of single parents - received the Engineering Inspiration Award. The award honors outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s school and community.

More than 15,000 students, ages 6-18, from 40 countries attended the four-day event in Houston. The FIRST Championship is the world’s largest competition for science, technology, engineering, and math students.

This year, the gameplay for the competition was called “Deep Space.” It involved students designing a robot to collect samples on another planet. With a two-and-a-half-minute time limit, the robots competed to gather the most cargo and load it onto their “spaceships” for liftoff before an imaginary sandstorm strikes.

The Darüşşafaka High School club named their robot after Belgium cartoonist Herge’s famous comic strip hero Tintin.

The Engineering Inspiration Award enables the Sultans of Türkiye team to compete in the finals scheduled in Houston in 2020 without going through further elimination matches. Another benefit of the award is that NASA will pay for the team’s $5,000 entrance fee for the finals.

Belsu Seyran, captain of the Sultans of Türkiye, said told daily Hürriyet that the robotics team was the first in Turkey. The team consists of eight girls and five boys.

“We have received many awards up to now. We have tried to represent our country, school and team in the best way. We are very proud to have received one of the most prestigious awards at the world championship among hundreds of teams. There is a 10-year-long history behind this award. It means a lot to us,” the 11th grader said.

The school club’s teacher, Mete Karaca, attributed the team’s success largely to the science-based education at Darüşşafaka High School.

“About 20 awards that ‘Sultans of Türkiye’ … has so far won is the biggest indicator of this,” Karaca said.

Tayfun Öktem, chairperson of the Darüşşafaka Society, said the team’s victory is the “most concrete indicator” of the equalitarian, reason-based and scientific education offered at Darüşşafaka High School. “As the whole Darüşşafaka family, we are proud of them,” Öktem said.