Bellarmine College Preparatory Hosts First VEX Robotics Challenge

SAN JOSE, Calif.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—January 14, 2009— Bellarmine College Preparatory will host 18 teams from around Northern California at the Bellarmine Bay Area VEX Robotics Challenge in the Wayne Valley Memorial Gymnasium on its campus Saturday, January 17.

The school will enter five teams in the competition, which requires a small, remote controlled robot to lift a three-inch foam cube and place it in one of eight goals located on the court. Competition consists of two robots playing against two competing robots in a series of two-minute matches.

The VEX competition will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with playoffs beginning by 2 p.m., and is open to the public. Admission is free.

“These are smaller robots than our team typically builds,” said Rob Janke, science teacher and robotics team moderator. “Having this tournament will give our students additional hands-on building experience since we have five teams of three or four as opposed to the big robot that has a team of about 15. The teams can make more small robots which are less expensive to build than the one big robot.”

The smaller size allows more students to work on a robot and participate in the competition, which also takes place in a smaller area, allowing more local competitions in high school gymnasiums.

“The students have more control with the smaller robots, in regards to their access to working on them and trying various things on their own,” said Jim Urhausen, counselor and robotics team moderator. “Holding competitions in smaller spaces, such as high school gyms allows for more competitions for students — giving them a great deal more experience without the need for additional travel to regional competitions.”

Bellarmine’s robotics team, also known as the “Cheesy Poofs”, has been competing nationally for nine years. More than 55 students currently participate in the program, which is open to all Bellarmine students and does not require any experience in engineering. The team is partnered with NASA’s Robotics Alliance Projects. Students are supported by four NASA engineers and are given lab time in the Moffett Field facility.

Bellarmine College Preparatory, a Jesuit secondary school located in San Jose, California, has been educating young “men for others” in the Jesuit tradition of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, since 1851.


Bellarmine College Preparatory
Estelle Hayes, 408-537-9210
Director of Communications
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