NIST Students Take Top Honors at Bangkok Vex Robotics Competition

On Saturday, 4 February the Battle in Bangkok: Starstruck Thailand Vex Robotics Competition was hosted at NIST International School, with teams from NIST, International School Bangkok and Thai-Chinese International School all competing for a place at the world event. The NIST Falcons secured the Excellence Award, qualifying them for the VEX Robotics World Championship, the culminating event of the season, held in April, with the top teams from across the United States and around the world who seek to become world champions.

To prepare for the competition, the NIST team worked together to design and build a robot using VEX EDR that could quickly and efficiently solve specific obstacles and challenges that come with playing the VEX Robotics Competition Starstruck game. Each week, the students apply what they’ve learned about science, technology, engineering and math in order to build the semiautonomous machines. An equally important set of skills is learned through the competition: communication, project management, site management and the importance of composure, as they have to learn how to lose as much as they have to learn how to win.

Jason Tiefel, who coached the NIST teams and organized the event, indicated that the programme is still growing in Thailand, but offers a great deal of appeal to students and builds skills that parallel the principles of the IB programme: “I could not be more proud of the effort and achievement the students displayed. They put in many hours of extra work to prepare, and the competition gave them a goal to strive for that ignited their interest in learning more about robotics. I even had seniors that started the competition, left for exams and college interviews, then came back and finished as tournament champions! As an educator it is amazing to see the students applying their skills of creativity, collaboration, dynamic problem solving, resilience, and strategic thinking in a way that is fun and engaging.”

The Battle in Bangkok: Starstruck Thailand is one of a series of VEX Robotics Competitions taking place internationally throughout the year. The VEX Robotics Competition is the world’s fastest growing competitive robotics program for middle schools, high schools and colleges around the world, with more than 16,000 teams from 40 countries that participate in more than 1,300 VEX Robotics Competition events worldwide. Building on the newfound success by the NIST Falcons, the event is set to grow even further in Bangkok, and they’re eager to take on new challenges at the world championship.


For more information about the VEX Robotics Competition, visit roboticseducation.org and robotevents.com.

NIST Students Tackle Global Issues at 20th Annual MUN

On Thursday, 3 March NIST International School traveled to Singapore to participate in the 20th annual SEASAC Model United Nations conference, hosted by Tanglin Trust School. NIST was one of ten schools from seven Asian nations to participate in this conference, where 200 international school students ranging from years 10 through 13 spent the weekend debating the world’s most vital and pressing issues.

Welcomed by the performances of numerous talented musicians at Tanglin Trust School, the NIST delegation started committee sessions on 4 March with excitement and drive. Partaking in nine different committees to debate 26 prominent global issues, our students represented four countries on a wide range of topics such as the question of tackling youth unemployment, the issue of addressing drug trafficking, and even on the discussion of United Nations reforms.

NIST students took a prominent leadership role in this year’s conference. Two of our students, Paul Keen (Class of 2018) and Mihir Patel (Class of 2017), took the main management role as Head Chairs of the ASEAN Committee and the International Court of Justice respectively. In addition to our Head Chairs, Alessandro Prügel (Class of 2018), Harshita Mahendra (Class of 2017), and Erdong Chen (Class of 2017) took leadership roles in the conference, with roles as Co-Chairs in the Human Rights Council and the Economic and Social Council.

At the end of the three-day event, NIST’s 20-strong delegation, led by Mrs. Robin Wilensky and Mr. Paul Pickering, emerged as one of the strongest at the conference. Delegates were ardent in submitting resolutions, offering amendments, and raising their placards to ask points of information, and their performance did not go unnoticed. Varun Subramaniam (Class of 2018) won the best delegate award for the GA6 Legal Committee, Shreyans Sethi (Class of 2018) won the best delegate award for the Economic and Social Council, and Hithalli Chawla (Class of 2017) won the Most Improved Delegate award in the Disarmament and International Security Committee.

This year’s SEASAC Model United Nations trip was an outstanding success; all of our delegates were able to contribute towards fruitful debate, and we came out of the conference more practiced, more aware, and able to better discuss the global issues that surround us today. All of the students found the trip to be both extremely educational and valuable experience, as well as a truly fun event to socialize and connect with students from all around Asia.

– Kengo Shigeta (Class of 2017)

CIS Recognizes NIST Graduate with International Student Award

International-Student-Award-Winner-Chakrapoj-Bos-ChitwannapaThe Council of International Schools, one of the three organizations through which NIST International School is accredited, recognizes a small number of students worldwide each year with the International Student Award. Acknowledging the contributions of those who have “demonstrated a clear commitment to sustained interaction with students of the other nationalities, languages or ethnic backgrounds in a spirit of international understanding and cooperation”, the award encourages students to reach out to others in their communities, identify issues, and initiate creative, sustainable solutions. This year Chakrapoj (Bos) Chitwannapa, a member of the Class of 2014, became one of only a small number of students worldwide to receive the award.

As described on the CIS award page, “Bos travelled to Maeramit Village in Om Goi District as part of a CAS trip where he participated in the preliminary stage of community development. This has helped him gain first-hand experience in learning about development and applying development tools in a rural village environment. Bos did some excellent work facilitating the needs analysis process, and the school was impressed with the leadership he has shown. Bos will continue to work on the project with other NIST students and teachers, as well as with other schools, so as to help form a development project that will benefit the village in a sustainable and beneficial way.”

Congratulations, Bos, and we wish you luck as you leave NIST and begin a new journey in university!

NIST to Host the First Annual Falcon Young Fencer Invitational

Long separated from its origins in duels between young European aristocrats, fencing has since expanded to become an electrifying sport that challenges both the mind and body. Following the success of year 10 student Soravit (Ping Ping) Kitsiriboon, NIST International School is expanding support for the sport as it hosts Thailand’s first Falcon Young Fencer Invitational on Saturday, 24 May 2014. The event, aimed to raise awareness of competitive fencing among youth in the region, is open to teams in four different age groups: under 10, under 12, under 14 and under 17. Running the whole day from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, the event will take place at NIST’s Sports Complex, where over 100 fencers are expected to take part.

Wiradech-KothnyThe NIST Falcon Fencing Club is the first international school fencing club in Thailand. Having become a member of the Amateur Fencing Association of Thailand (AFAT) in July 2013, it now includes over 30 fencers and has quickly gained recognition for its promising athletes, due in large part to the coaching. Leading the young Falcons is Head Coach Wiradech (Willi) Kothny, a decorated fencing aficionado who holds the distinction of being the only fencing athlete to win medals for two countries: Germany and Thailand.

A three-time Olympian, Kothny earned individual and team bronze medals in sabre fencing at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Additionally, he has taken part in numerous other competitions throughout his career, earning a European championship, world championship and other awards. Returning to Thailand in 2002, Kothny began to build the sport in Thailand and revolutionize it through world-class coaching techniques, while continuing to earn medals in the Asian Games, Southeast Asian Games and Asian Fencing Championships.

In June of 2013 Kothny joined NIST as the head coach, aiming to empower the NIST Falcons to compete on the national and international levels. His message to NIST students and others who would like to fence is simple: perseverance and a good education are the keys to achieving one’s goals, both on and off the fencing strip. He further believes that a positive attitude, discipline, respect and honor are traits that fencers should also develop to reach success. With a growing number of promising fencers at NIST and around the country, and the backing of an Olympian, Thailand may soon find more success on the international stage.

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