We thought 2019 was a super year with our VEX Robotics team but they have blown us away in 2020! Our students took home 2 awards at our regional event; Robot Skills and Teamwork Champion which ensured qualification for the National Finals in February in C.I.T. The game this year is called SQUARED AWAY and it involves moving different coloured cubes to their scoring zones as well as placing balls on or in cubes for extra points. We had decided to call our robot ORLA, which stands for Our Reliable Little Android.

Over 100 schools competed across all the various regionals in Cork, Limerick, Drogheda, Donegal, Dublin and Waterford. 24 schools progressed from these to make it to the All-Ireland Finals. Our team had learned a lot from the previous VEX Season and so were a little more prepared for what was ahead of them this year and they knew how competitive it would be at Nationals.

We redsigned certain apsects of our robot to make it faster and ensure it was more reliable at picking up the cubes to score the points we needed. Our drivers practiced and practiced every lunch break (not going to yard), after school and even came in before school early in the morning to give themselves the best chance. Our coders were determined to ensure their codes worker perfectly and werent happy with the slightest mistake made in them. Our STEM team worked really hard on recording and designing our Engineering Notebooks so every bit of the process was documented (very artistically I might add).

When the day finally arrived the team were both nervous and excited. Our drivers and coders worked really well together and with a top score managed to secure the ROBOT SKILLS AWARD for us (Driving & Coding scores added together). Next up was the Teamwork Challenge. Our 4 drivers had to join up with other schools and come up with a strategy that would work best depending on the designs of the two robots. Again we came up trumps and took home another National title…. TEAMWORK CHAMPIONS. We were ecstatic! 2 National titles was beyond our wildest imagination! When the event had finished every team sat back and nervously waited for the judges to announce the various award and present them to the teams. It was then that we were announced as having the top robotics programme in Ireland for 2020. We had won the EXCELLENCE AWARD. The judges had also presented us with the AMAZE AWARD which was for building an amaing high-scoring robot that dfisplays overall quality.

We couldn’t wait to bring our 4 National titles back to Holy Cross to show all the teachers and students but especially Ms. Bowe! By winning the EXCELLENCE AWARD at Nationals it meant we have qualified for the World Finals in Kentucky, USA!!!