EEP Tomorrow's Engineers -
Celebrating Matthew and the Robotics Challenge Team
by Vivien Murray
Proud winners Matthew and the McLaren High Team
Matthew is 12 years old and is currently in his first year at McLaren High School in Callander, having previously attended Strathyre Primary School. Matthew has always had a wide range of interests from collecting fossils, playing keyboard, Maths and science subjects.
Matthew and three of his fellow 1st year friends, formed a team to enter the 'EEP Tomorrow's Engineers Robotics Competition' which is a UK wide schools competition for 11 to 14 year olds sponsored by the RAF and Rolls Royce.
After winning the school competition, they went on to win the Forth Valley Regional Final which then qualified them for the national final on the 16th of March at the NEC in Birmingham as part of the Big Bang Fair.
The boys flew down to Birmingham for the UK final with two of their teachers and competed in a number of rounds including a speed bot challenge, presentations and their robot having to manoeuvre around a challenge board completing various tasks.
At the rewards ceremony at the end of the day, various prizes came and went with no mention of them until the announcement of the overall winners which turned out to be McLaren High!
The boys were given a prize of a model Spitfire along with a rucksack of goodies.
The four boys have also been invited to share their experiences at the Robotics Challenges at other local Primary Schools.
Matthew also plays keyboard and has been taught by local music teacher Marc Fallen. Matthew and the other pupils Marc teaches are going to perform at the Killin Music Festival in June.
Matthew also has Asperger's Syndrome. As a family we chat about strategies to help Matthew negotiate situations that he may find difficult for him, but also his Asperger's helps him focus and concentrate on logical solutions to daily life issues.
Winning theses competitions has been a huge achievement for Matthew and the other three boys.
We are very proud of him. Matthew often quotes Mrs McDonald, the Head Teacher at Strathyre Primary School saying "It's Team Work That Makes The Dream Work". This proved correct for this team!
Matthews mum Vivien shared the following information which may be helpful to other children and families:
"Matthew attends PLUS Stirling Forth Valley Ltd. This is a fantastic organisation with one to one guidance. They help children have fun, i.e. bowling, canoeing, cycling. They also offer practical learning experiences e.g. they might pay for a train ticket themselves, go to Asda, buy food and get the train back to Stirling. Life skill days can also be cooking and baking. The children are able to attend one activity a month."
"Wheels Cycling Centre just outside Callander, is also fantastic. The company offers a range of specially adapted bikes for any disability. The chap that owns it, is an angel. Nothing is too much bother, he is so helpful and kind. Its great to have this facility on our door step."