Terang Express
LEGO festival awaits brothers

TWO Terang locals are set to take on the world next year – the LEGO world that is.

Sixteen year-old Ben Wickenton and his 15 year-old brother Luke have qualified to take part in the First LEGO League World Festival in America in May next year after winning their way through Australia’s qualifiers.

First they won at regional level at Roxborough Park in Melbourne’s north west before they fronted up for the National Championship – South which is for Victorian, New South Wales and Tasmanian teams at Swinburne University in Melbourne a fortnight ago.

“At South National’s (National Championship- South) we got first place in the inspiration award which recognises how you work together as a team and how you inspire others,” Luke said.

“We also got third overall out of about 47 teams and we’ve been invited to compete against about 75 teams from around the world at the World Festival in Arkansas in America.”

As part of the competition, Ben and Luke were required to complete a series of challenges with their creation on a pre-made game board.

“We built a robot and we had to program it to do as many missions as possible on the board in two and a half minutes,” Luke said.

“Each mission gives you a different amount of points. The harder the mission, the more points you get.”

The brothers also had to complete a project based on a problem they found in society to which they must come up with a solution.

 “This year it is based on cities, so you have to build something that benefits our community,” Ben said.

“For our solution we have done landfill conservation and our idea is to use an autoclave.

“All the rubbish is put in there (the autoclave) and it’s like a pressure cooker which turns everything into fuels or recyclable materials like glass or plastic.”

The length of their project has taken Ben and Luke a number of months to complete, although the pair are used to what it entails having been regular competitors over the past five years.

As well as competing as a pair, both brothers represented their school, Terang College, at last year’s First Lego League Asia Pacific Championships in Sydney.

“We’ve been working at it (the competition) for about three months,” Ben said.

“I started (taking part in) this competition six years ago and I found it really awesome to build a robot and program it and come up with a solution to a project.

“The atmosphere of the competition and the people you meet is really awesome.”

As for their trip to the United States of America, both brothers are excited for what they both said will be “an amazing experience”.

 “We are very fortunate to be given the opportunity to go to different countries to do this,” Luke said.

“We’re really looking forward to it.”

Proud: Luke and Ben Wickenton’s efforts at the national level of Australia’s
firstLEGO League saw them come away with a number of trophies and a trip to America.