Big day for robotics hosted by Notre Dame

More than 70 teams and nearly 1,000 people from around the state, including spectators, were on hand Saturday, Dec. 15, at Notre Dame for two robotics events: a VEX IQ event for elementary-aged students held in the cafeteria, and a VEX Robotics Competition (VRC) event for middle- and high-school students, which was held in the school's main gymnasium. 


In VRC completion, which was the schools eighth hosted VRC event, teams of robots face off against each other in two vs. two matches, where the partners and opponents are randomly selected. The event starts with qualification matches and the teams with the best records move on to the playoffs. 

According to longtime NDPMA robotics mentor Jerry Palardy, Notre Dame's team 33J, "Partially Passive Bees" (9th graders Josh Lyijynen, Lee Lindsey, Jonathan Hubbard, and Sherwood Rivera), was the highest NDP qualifier, ranking third with a record of 7-1. 

"Actually, all nine of Notre Dame's teams advanced to the playoffs," Palardy said. "But because so many Bees teams made the playoffs, they were often pitted against each other, with a few matches featuring three Bees teams on the field at the same time. In one of the semifinal matches, all four robots were from Notre Dame, which was pretty cool." 

Palardy also said the VRC alliance of 33A, "The A Team" (12th graders Arjun Anand and Eli Thummel), and 3333B "Butter" (8th graders Payton Beckman, Jackson Krieger, Joe Lasota, and Ricky Czapski), made it as far as the finals and were within a couple of points of winning the event. And team 3333B took home the "Design Award," which qualifies them for the Michigan State Championship in March. 


The VEX IQ event held in Notre Dame's cafeteria also featured many teams — 32 teams, to be precise, including five Bumble Bees teams from Notre Dame's lower division. Four out of those five teams wade it to the finals, according to Louise Palardy, NDPMA's STEM specialist.

"In the finals, our fifth-grade team, comprised of Ella Kissman, Mia Carles, Lucas DiGrande and Andrew Chang, won the event and therefore qualified for the VEX IQ State Championship, which will be held February 16 in Charlotte, Michigan," she said.

Palardy also said the fifth-grade team also won the Robot Skills Award for the top score in programming and driving skills as well as the Design Award.

Bumble Bees teams also place third (#3333A), fourth (#3333B) and eighth (#3333V) place.

"Our event was successful due to the volunteer support from parents and students," Louise Palardy said. "We would also like to thank the students who volunteered all day: John Milback (eighth grade), for being an awesome emcee; Matt Wiebelhaus (twelfth), for being a referee; Kevin Cragg (twelfth), for running the tournament software; Nutthanit Teantunyakij (tenth-grade exchange student), for serving as a design judge; Edward Lis (sixth), for being a skills referee; Reagan Plas (sixth), for resetting the field; and Megan and Abigail Chaiyasate (sixth and seventh) for keeping all the teams in proper queue." 

"It was all-in-all a great day for Notre Dame robotics," Jerry Palardy said. "From me as well, a big thank you to all the parent volunteers and NDPMA staff who helped out at the event."


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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. The school's upper division enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower divisions enroll students in jr. kindergarten through grade eight. All three divisions are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at