In this, their very first competition, which included 22 teams from 10 schools throughout the region, the Lourdes team made it all the way to the semifinal round. 

Preparation for Saturday’s competition began in October with a core group that met weekly after school with the Robotics club. First steps included examining other tournaments via Youtube and discussed the positives and negatives of various team designs. Students worked on creating two completely unique designs with over a dozen variations and modifications to each. They then began to implement their design using parts from several VEX EDR Robotic Kits.

After the robot was assembled, it was programmed using RobotC. Students wrote functions containing a collection of commands and mapped them to buttons on the robot remote controller. This allowed the robot to move forward, backward, grab, and lift the cones necessary for scoring points in the competition.

Open to the public, this competition is the first bracket toward the worldwide competition. Teams were paired up and would compete against another pair of teams in each contest. Teams would score points for stacking cones on top of other cones to produce the highest stack of the match or pushing a several pound cone of their team’s color into the scoring zone. 

In summarizing the experience, Mr. Matthias Johnson, Lourdes Director of Technology and Robotics Club moderator remarked, “I am so proud of our students and what they were able to accomplish in such a short amount of time. Advancing to the semifinals was thrilling and a testament to their hard work. I was greatly impressed by their willingness to rebuild the robot and create a functional autonomous cone stacking program in the few minutes between matches, improving our chances along the way.”

Mr. Johnson continued, “Looking ahead, we will take the knowledge and experience we have gained and apply it to future competitions.”