Third 8th-grade robotics team from Notre Dame qualifies for states

At a VEX Robotics Competition event held Saturday, Feb. 2, at Cranbrook Schools, Notre Dame eighth-grade team #3333A, AKA "Buzz-ookas," earned first place, which qualified them for the state championship tournament in March.

The team, which consists of Ian Chang, Oliver Kayi, Luka Cvetkovic, and Sean Chaiyasate, has had the goal of advancing to 'states' since September, according to a team mentor, Jerry Palardy.

"Along the way they've had some tough breaks, and have 'almost made it' a couple times," Palardy said. "But they didn't give up and kept working. Last week, during the snow days, they got together to practice, improve the mechanics of their robot, and work on their programming. We tell them that hard work will eventually pay off, and this week it really did. Not only did they win the event, but they were tops in autonomous programming in five out of six of their matches, and their high 'skills' score ranks them 45th in the world!"

The other two Notre Dame eighth-grade teams that qualified for state competition earlier this season are #3333Z, "Mo'Bees" (Aaron Palardy, John Jernigan, Andrew Schaldenbrand, Jackson Plas), and #3333B, "Butter" (Jackson Krieger, Joe Lasota, Ricky Czapski, Payton Beckman).

The VEX Middle School State Championship will be Saturday, March 2, at Monroe County Community College in Monroe, Mich.

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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