The Bellarmine Robotics Team, which is 100+ members strong, is recognized as one of the top teams in the country. Team 254, also known as The Cheesy Poofs, competes in FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and VEX regional, state and national tournaments.
Previous robotics and/or programming experience is not required to join the team. However, due to the highly-competitive nature of the team, students must submit an application if they'd like to participate, with mentors selecting team members based upon their passion and dedication. Mentors, moderators and team members are available to help new members learn the tasks that are of interest to them, whether that means being machine-trained on the lathe or drill press, or leaning Solidworks, CAD or C++.
Team 254 also utilizes their members' writing, animation and photography skills to publish a team newsletter and maintain a club website.
Students, along with knowledgeable mentors, work at the NASA Ames Research Center to design, build, and field a competitive robot which performs a specific game task. Additionally, team animators create game and safety animations that are judged by FIRST. The co-curricular competition season begins in January with the announcement of the game challenge for the year, and continues through the second semester. Many of our students will work throughout the year, including summers, to hone their robotics skills. Electronics, machining, construction and programming skills go into the actual production of the robot. The team video, created yearly for the Chairman's Award, provides great insight into Bellarmine's program.
VEX, formerly the FIRST Vex Challenge (FVC), is a mid-level robotics competition offering the traditional challenge of a FIRST Robotics competition but with a more accessible and affordable robotics kit. The VEX season runs from fall through spring, with game challenges defined on a yearly basis.
The Cheesy Poofs added Zero Robotics as a new venture in 2011. This competition involves programming miniature SPHERES satellites to perform tasks in a virtual environment. The team was very successful in their first year, advancing to the finals of the Zero Robotics SPHERES Challenge.