Former Scholar-Athlete making an impact across the world

Updated: December 01, 2019 09:30 PM
Created: December 01, 2019 07:43 PM

THAILAND (WHEC) — Thirteen years ago News10NBC featured Brockport senior Justin Worboys as our student-athlete of the week. Now, he's making a global impact.

Worboys has been teaching science at the American School of Bangkok for the past three years. During his first year teaching in Thailand, the owner of the school learned that he had started a robotics program while previously teaching in New York.

"She's a wise woman, and she's had a lot of experience," said Worboys. "She's ready to pass on the torch of running the school, but she's like, 'My one last wish is I'd love to have a running robotics program at the school.'"

Worboys got to work and found that he didn't have to do too much convincing to get kids to join.

"There's so much interest for this kind of stuff out here," said Worboys. "These kids are so excited to get involved with it."

This passion has taken them far. Most recently, they traveled to Dubai to participated in the First Global Robotics Challenge. The competition is designed to inspire a passion for science, technology, engineering, and math in youths around the world. Worboys' team was the first ever to represent the country of Thailand. 

"One of the things that's really great about this competition is they really stress these things called the core values," said Worboys. "They really push that this is a learning experience. It's about the journey. It's about having the friendships, the learning tasks that go along with it."

The theme of this year's competition was ocean opportunities, forcing the students to find ways to keep the ocean clean.

"The kids are not necessarily supposed to build a robot to fix the problem, but they're supposed to find ways and start thinking about how they can be a community-based person that can help," said Worboys. 

Each country was paired with two other teams for each challenge. Then, they had to work together to defeat their competitors. 

"Everyone's intuitive nature is to be hyper-competitive, but at the same time, let's be competitive in a goal greater than just one of us," urged Worboys. "Let's compete for something that we all can benefit from. It's not about having the best robot out of 190 countries. It's about having 190 of the best robots in the world in one place at the same time."

Worboys' experience as a scholar-athlete has now come full circle, as his students interview with local media outlets just like he did.

"We went through all the practice of how to make sure you communicate to be in media and that kind of stuff," said Worboys. "It's what I love about it. It's more than just a robot. These kids are learning so many life skills."

Team Thailand placed 100 out of 190 teams in the competition.

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