29 Sep SERBIA’S PRIME OLYMPIC TEAM are the best students, but not nerds, and in Dubai they go with ROBOT IN SERBIAN NIGHT
(Translated from Serbian)
Five of them, high school students, are going to the competition – the FIRST Global Robotics Olympiad in Dubai. They are the best students in their high schools, not nerds, and they are on social networks, but the world around them is critically and correctly evaluated, they know all the trends, they come out, but they are also activists who save nature … The anthem of their Olympics team will be ” This is Serbia. ” You will admit – they have already won.
Jelena Tomasevic, Mina Matic, Sara Jasovic, Jelena Zdravkovic are students of the “Creation Pero” Gymnasium of the “Mija Stanimirovic” Electrical Engineering in Nis, and Tara Malovic is a Belgrade student attending the Nikola Tesla High School in Budapest. They are the team that will represent Serbia at the International Robotics Olympiad, which takes place from October 24 to 27 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Serbia is participating in this major science competition for the third time.
We talk to them as they assemble their robot. Screwdrivers in hands, parts are added … the robot grows. There will be 17,000 of their peers in Dubai, 175 different cultures and nations.
There are different teams, there is also a Team of Hope where there are refugees, migrants, and Team Europe… – say Serbian science competitors who have already studied their competition.
They decided they needed to be recognized among so many people. They were big, thinking, and the decision was down. This international competition comes with a robot in Serbian costume.
This year, the teams will compete in two alliances of three teams each, which will solve different tasks aimed at one of the big problems of today. They face a real challenge – cleaning the world’s oceans.
– We looked at removing plastic from the ocean in reality. This is done by two ships that have a rope and our robot works on this system – says Jelena Tomasevic.
Tara Malovic, who arrives Thursday from Budapest to Belgrade for the team to be together, shows us how their robot works. It’s not fully assembled yet … But the joystick in our hands, the balls instead of the plastic that destroys our environment … and here we go! The tiny robot spreads its arms and pushes everyone in front of it.
We listen to high school students, including the youngest Sara, who is second in high school, talking about a global problem. Wisdom thoughts are closer to the seven heads than to children aged 15-16:
– Not only the best engineering minds need salvation. At the Olympics, among so many nations, it will be clear to everyone that some challenges can only be overcome when people realize that we are all on the same team and can work together to bring about positive change in the world.
We cut the serious story by asking what else they plan on doing at the Olympics, there in Dubai.
“Eeeee, we have a secret plan,” Sara says, and everyone starts laughing.
They do not reveal a secret plan, but one day will be safe. They say “maybe shopping because there are no museums”. New friends …
We ask them how they see the fact that their peers are mentioned most in the media by the brutal violence and the recordings they make. Jelena (Tomasevic) and Tara immediately respond and try to protect their generation a little:
– Not our generation is bad, but in society more attention is paid to such things. There is much more beautiful news, but no one pays attention to it. Do you know that students of Mathematics High School literally go to competitions every week?
Yet they admit that they have focused their energy and interest on something else:
– What is partly happening in our generation is the misdirection of that energy. It takes more focus on good things and more projects like this … If there were more opportunities like this we have, everything would go down well – they are safe.
Another Jelena – Jelena Zdravkovic from Niš says her school is trying to constructively direct students and work on ecological exchange of students, so they planted seedlings with classmates from Belgrade. Sarah adds that she was cleaning the park and the students of Budapest’s Nikola Tesla High School are planting trees.
We see that they all have the same purple ribbon on hand. They say they have a group with other girls from other countries and a deal has fallen – purple ribbons as a sign of support for women in the technical sciences. This includes the IT teacher who mentors our team, Vuk Vujovic.
– We try to promote STEM careers for girls (programming, engineering, math) because the smallest number of girls are enrolled in these colleges. World statistics say that girls are suddenly losing interest in this type of profession in the period from 15 to 18, although in elementary school they are very successful in these areas – says the teacher.
Hey, what are you girls studying?
Sara has not made up her mind yet, but maybe architecture or pharmacy. Jelena from Nis programming, Mina does not know yet, but her closest is genetic engineering. Jelena Tomasevic would like to combine technical and natural sciences because robots will take over most of the work. Tara broke ground, her future is astro-physics.
From Thursday to Sunday, they are together in Belgrade working on a robot, preparing for the Olympics. In the meantime, they have their own Viber group, but they are also on Instagram. There will be competition in the Olympics, and not just in knowledge. They tell us how the Malta team has their propaganda material, chemical flags … to share. They don’t have that. They added: “We have each other, our team, our robot, our costume, our desire to win and to present Serbia as it fits, with knowledge.”
– We have no way to share any material. But to us it is more important to promote science than financial aid itself.
We ask them, and when they ask you about Serbia, what will you say? Editing answers:
– Although it is a small country, it is rich not only financially but with beautiful nature and a great history.
– We have a unique mentality, unique.
– Nobody like us …
Lastly, let’s wish them a break!
Each team makes up to five students at the Olympics. The main objective, apart from the competition, is to raise awareness of the importance of STEM careers, as a prospect for developing young people and supporting intercultural cooperation and exchange. STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of education in four specific disciplines – science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which are integrated through an interdisciplinary approach.