WEST HAVEN – In just its second year of competition, the Notre Dame High School Robotics Team claimed its first competition championship on Nov. 14, when one of the three teams Notre Dame entered captured the South Windsor High School CTEEA (Connecticut Technology Engineering Education Association) VEX (Robotics) Nothing But Net Qualifier.
Last year, in its first year of existence, the Robotics Team entered competitions in January and March, placing second and fourth, and helping them qualify for the New England Regional in March. With this latest win, the 2015-16 Robotics Team has already qualified two entrants for that same New England Regional as well as the High School Division of the CREATE US Open Robotics Championship to be held in Iowa in April.
“The students have made all of us very proud,” said Robert F. Curis, school president. “The exciting learning, creativity and camaraderie that extends beyond our campus is exemplary. These young men and their moderator, Ms. Katie Saxon, continue their track record of success. We are all looking forward to their next round of competition.”
Principal Patrick Clifford, ’75, agreed. “I am so proud of the team’s win in this weekend’s competition, but more so, the fact the students are developing their STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] skills and applying their knowledge is outstanding.”
The Notre Dame entrant, aptly dubbed “The Green Machine” for the school color, was led by Terry Luo of North Haven, Evan Mikulski of Wallingford and Josh Norton of Seymour. They ran through their qualifying matches with a 4-1 record and earned enough points to capture the top seed among the 38 teams who entered.
Notre Dame’s other two entries, named “Robotic Knights” and “Thunderscore,” both went 2-3 in their five qualifying matches and finished 20th and 26th, respectively.
“These kids work so hard on the robots,” said Ms. Saxon. “They collaborate with each other to come up with the best designs. They are using STEM skills that are so important in today’s career fields. They also use interpersonal skills at the meets, when in alliance with other schools, and in making alliances with other schools during the matches. I am extremely proud of their effort.”
Mr. Luo said he was thankful that his team won. “It’s gratifying, especially because so many unexpected things happened in the finals, to be part of the first group to win at robotics for Notre Dame.”
Mr. Mikulski echoed the thought, saying, “It was a win not only for our entire club but also for the school. It’s great to be able to add another trophy on the shelf in the main hallway.”