Triumphant weekend for Notre Dame robotics

Notre Dame's middle school robotics team takes state championship; high school team wins first event of season.

At the VEX Middle School State Championship held yesterday at Monroe County Community College in Monroe, Mich., Notre Dame's team 3333B, AKA team "Butter," comprised of eighth-graders Payton Beckman, Jackson Krieger, Joe Lasota, and Ricky Czapski, won the event, earning them the Michigan State Champion title. The team, which also won the Judges Award for their unique robot design, now advances to the VEX World Championship in Louisville, Ky., in late April. 

According to team mentor Jerry Palardy, all three of NDPMA's middle school VRC teams competed at the state championship.

"Two of those teams advanced to the elimination rounds as the #3 and #4 seeds, each partnering with a team from Cranbrook to form an alliance," Palardy said. "Both of those alliances progressed to the finals, knocking off the #1 and #2 seeds in the process. The final match was Bees vs. Bees, which was a super proud moment for our school knowing that either way a champion would be from Notre Dame." 

Palardy noted that yesterday's event was very competitive as it featured the best middle school robotics teams from all over the state. 

"While our teams went in as the underdogs, in the end they prevailed," he said.

Notre Dame's team 3333A, the "Buzz-ookas," eighth-graders Ian Chang, Luka Cvetkovic and Oliver Kayi, completed the qualification rounds in third place, and captains of the #3 alliance. They finished as tournament finalists in a close finals match. 

"This group of eighth graders who competed yesterday have been in the school robotics program for a number of years, some starting as early as third grade," Palardy said. "Most have progressed through VEX IQ, which feature plastic robots, and then into VRC's metal robots and power tools, all the while learning about the design process and picking up new skills like programming. Next year, as they move on to high school, they will have the opportunity to join the Killer Bees FIRST Robotics team, and they will definitely be ready."

Killer Bees win first event of season

Also on Saturday, after a three-day competition held at Southfield High School, Notre Dame's high school FIRST Robotics team, the Killer Bees, came out on top, besting 39 other teams after a grueling 12 matches.

The Killer Bees came into the finals of the event, which began Thursday, as the #1 seed with a record of 11-1-0. As such, the Bees earned the right to choose their other alliance teams and they chose team #3538, the RoboJackets, from Avondale High School, and team #94, the Ninetyfouriors, from Southfield High School. 

That alliance ended up with a 6-0-0 playoff record and the tournament trophy. The Bees also earned the event's Engineering Excellence Award.

The next FIRST Robotics Competition event begins March 15 at Centerline High School.

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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