Marist Academy robotic teams return from ‘Worlds’ in Louisville

Four teams from Marist Academy's lower and middle schools competed against nearly 800 teams in their divisions from around the world.

The VEX IQ Robotics World Championship — a huge competition that brought more than 15,000 students from 36-plus countries to Louisville, Ky., over the past week — finished up on Tuesday, with Marist Academy's four teams competing well and gaining lots of experience.

Around 1,650 teams were at the event, which has been recognized as the world's largest robotics competition. Students competed at the elementary, middle and high school levels, as well as at the collegiate level. 

According to Louise Palardy, a team mentor and Notre Dame's STEM specialist and manager of the school's robotics center, Marist Academy's four-team contingent consisted of a third-grade team, The Robodobos, Anthony DiGrande and Marissa Lawson; a team of third and fourth graders, Team Backfires, consisting of Luke Kissman, Brendan Kator and Brady Rossmiller; a team of fifth graders called The Only Q, Mia Carles, Ella Kissman, Lucas DiGrande and Andrew Chang; and a team of seventh graders, The Code Crushers, comprised of Jeffrey Guo, Beck Silver, Jose Turrubiartes and Pierce Marchese.

"Our seventh-grade team made the playoff round and finished in 8th place in their division," Palardy said. "Out of the 1,600-plus teams, there were about 400 teams in the third-through-fifth grade event divided into five divisions and 400 teams in the sixth-through-eighth grade event, which also was divided into five divisions."

Palardy said Team Backfires were in the top 10 for most of the event and dropped down to 22nd place just before the final round. 

"They were paired with a team from China in one of their early matches, but communication was a challenge," she said. "They ended up using Google Translate to form their match strategy and ultimately had a great match with them!

"It was a great experience for our students and I am proud of how well they represented our school," Palardy added.

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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 upper school 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 schools enroll students in jr. kindergarten through grade eight. All three Notre Dame schools 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