Young trio gearing up to represent country in World Robotics Olympiad 2018
By Patricia May P. Catan
Photos: Govinda Trazo, Cheryl Villarino, and Kristoffer Villarino
ZAIID, Ein, and Rhaya share the same interest and passion for robotics. The trio then worked together as a team then made it big in competitions. And guess what? They’re still grade-schoolers and they’ll be representing the country in the World Robotics Olympiad (WRO) 2018 in Thailand next month.
Rhaya, the only girl in the bunch, played with robot toys like Hexbug and Lego when she was younger. One toy she showed much enjoyment in was Goldieblox, an engineering set of toys specifically designed for girls who aspire to become engineers.
“We had her try summer engineering classes for kids when we saw her interest and she eventually learned Arduino on weekends at a school called Eonboltz,” says her mom Cheryl Villarino. Rhaya was later transferred to Marie Ernestine School when her parents found out about Lego Robotics in their curriculum.
Zaiid, on the other hand, has always been into building bricks from the age of four when he held his first Lego and never stopped creating since. His interest in cars and how engines work became a good ignition for something more.
“Zaiid got into the basics of Lego Robotics three summers ago at Compass Education then continued by joining the robotics team in Marie Ernestine,” says Zaiid’s mom Govinda Trazo. She adds that it was Zaiid’s favorite subject because he also goes together with his best buddy and classmate, Einthony.
Ein was only three years old when he learned to love building robots using Lego blocks. It was only fitting that Marie Ernestine offered a robotics class in their curriculum when Ein transferred in Grade 2. Ein, together with Zaiid, and later on joined by Rhaya who completed the robotics team in their school, represented Marie Ernestine in various robotics competitions.
Zaiid’s curiosity to create and solve tasks, Rhaya’s burning passion for the study, and Ein’s dream to become an inventor all became their drive to take everything to the next level by joining competitions. With their parents behind them all the way, the trio competed in both local and national levels where they came out as champions or placers. And it didn’t stop there: the team qualified to compete in the global scene last year.
The trio placed fourth in the Philippine Robotics Olympiad, which was enough for them to qualify in the World Robotics Olympiad in Costa Rica. But due to the staggering cost of the trip, the team wasn’t able to fly out to the Central American country on the other side of the Pacific.
But this year, the kids earned yet another chance to represent the country in the WRO 2018, this time in Thailand for winning second place in the Philippine leg last August. Zaiid, Ein, and Rhaya will join select teams from all over the world in Chiang Mai from November 16 to 18 for the WRO 2018, which carries the theme “Food Matters.”
Mrs. Villarino says she is extremely proud of Rhaya, and her family is very supportive of her. “It’s a turning point for her and we’re making the most of it by ensuring she will be able to participate,” she adds. The Trazo family feels the same for Zaiid, and they feel honored that he has this opportunity to represent the country. Edgar Cabatingan, Einthony’s father, is very proud of his son’s achievement as well. “My wife and I are always here to support his journey towards his passion on inventing or creating something useful to humanity in the near future,” shares Mr. Cabatingan.
In an effort to fly their children to Thailand as Philippine representatives at WRO 2018, the parents have put up a gogetfunding.com page for family and friends from all over the globe to send their donations for the team. Aside from the gogetfunding page, Mrs. Villarino and Mrs. Trazo are selling products they made themselves to raise more funds.
Mrs. Villarino sells notepads, stickers, notebooks, and journals featuring illustrations of monsters and cartoons which she designed herself. She mentioned that she will be displaying her products in a store soon, but as of the meantime, interested buyers can reach her through Facebook at Tambol Bee.
Mrs. Trazo is also selling wudiis, which are Lego-inspired wooden pegs hand-painted with movie characters or cute and funny expressions. But for the next batch of wudiis, she said they will no longer hold the signature Lego brick heads. “If all goes well, I will be getting a spot at Craft Story. It’s a little store at Crossroads, Banilad that will be opening this October,” she shares. Interested buyers can go online and check out @wearewudiis on Instagram as well.
The kids’ parents believe that their efforts are more than worth it as Zaiid, Ein, and Rhaya are out to do their country proud in the WRO 2018 in Thailand. Besides, the world of robotics has “programmed” the trio into better individuals while imbibing in them the age-old values of teamwork, perseverance and creativity. Rhaya has become more confident and active in school, Zaiid meticulous and creative, and Ein motivated to excel in his studies. Robotics has taken Zaiid, Ein, and Rhaya to a wonderful journey discovery and learning. Imagine where it will take this young trio next.