The Bellarmine robotics team—100+ members strong—is recognized as one of the top teams in the world. Competing through the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) program, Team 254, also known as The Cheesy Poofs, competes in FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) and VEX regional, state and national tournaments.
Our robotics lab is housed on-campus. It includes state-of-the-art machining equipment and advanced design software which allows students to design and build competitive robots, as well as a 50 foot FRC field to test them in a mini-competition environment.
Previous robotics and/or programming experience is not required to join Team 254. However, due to its highly competitive nature and the time commitment involved, students must submit an application if they'd like to participate, with team members being selected 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, mastering CAD, or Java, or undertaking project management.
In addition to technical skill sets such as designing, building, and animation, the team relies upon members for the completion of tasks on the business side of the house, such as team leadership, marketing, writing, and photography, which they utilize in their team newsletters and website.
More important than any competitive success or awards, the students of Team 254 grow academically, intellectually, and socially. They gain a better understanding, a greater respect, and a more profound appreciation of the benefits of a good education, as well as a heightened responsibility for helping other teams. The team devotes itself to outreach in the community and at competitions, teaching the general public about robotics, and sharing their skills with other teams.
Students, along with knowledgeable mentors, work at our robotics lab to design, build and field a competitive robot which performs a specific game task that changes every year. The co-curricular competition season begins in January with the announcement of the yearly game challenge and continues through the second semester. Students will work throughout the year to hone their robotics skills including electronics, machining, construction, and programming.
Team 254 runs an off-season FIRST Robotics Competition event in September. Chezy Champs is held on campus, with the Cheesy Poofs hosting 40 teams to battle it out and take home the title "Best of the West."
VEX, formerly the FIRST Vex Challenge (FVC), is a mid-level robotics competition which offers 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. Students work together in smaller subteams to design, build, and program robots.