Robotics Team Ready to Compete
The Saint Bernard Robotics Team will make its competition debut on Saturday, Oct. 29, in West Hartford.
The 3rd annual Hall VEX Robotics Qualifier at William Hall High School is a qualifier for the southern New England Championship. It brings together teams from around New England.
Robotics club, new at SBS this year, came about in what club advisor Ann Marie Jakubielski describes as “a perfect storm”. The right combination of students and funding came together to get it started, she said.
Last spring Saint Bernard School was awarded $12,000 in grants from the Montville Education Foundation and Mohegan Sun to cover the startup cost of the project.
Members of a Navy family relocating to the area were instrumental in getting the SBS robotics program off the ground. Sophomore William O’Donnell and his father, Thomas, volunteered numerous hours during the summer to set up the practice field and organize materials the nine members of the student-led team would need to build their robots.
William participated in robotics competitions at Gross Catholic, his former school in Nebraska, and wanted to be able to continue and share the fun with his new peers at Saint Bernard.
“I loved (robotics) so much. I thought if I loved it that much, other people would like it too,” said William. “I wanted others to have that experience of going to competition and having fun.”
Fun is what it’s all about at the end of the day, he says.
By its nature, the study of competitive robotics not only encompasses all four pillars of STEM education, but also encourages important life skills like teamwork, communication, and project-based organization.
“The kids are having fun and learning a lot,” Mrs. Jakubielski said. “You get the rules and field, and the rest is up to you.”
VEX Robotics Competition is played on a 12’x12’ square field. Two alliances – one “red” and one “blue” – composed of two teams each, compete in matches consisting of a 15-second autonomous period, followed by a one minute and forty-five second driver controlled period.
The object of the game is to attain a higher score than the opposing alliance by scoring discs in goals, owning rollers, and covering field tiles at the end of the match.
The competition this weekend features engineering challenges to be completed by the robots which students build and program. The Saints will face off against more than 50 other teams from about 15 different schools.