Maine Students to Represent USA with Award-Winning Robot in World Championship

One of the top student robotics teams in the state of Maine, from All Saints Catholic School in Bangor, will be competing to be the best in the world. The students will be participating in the Vex Robotics World Championship in Dallas, Texas, from April 27-April 30. It is the largest middle school robotics competition in the world with 498 teams from over 50 countries competing.

The All Saints’ team earned the Maine State Championship Excellence Award and finished first in Division One in the state championship, qualifying them for the world competition.

“I am nervous about all the teams from different countries that will be there, but I look forward to competing against some of the best teams in the world,” said Alex Petley, one of the team members.

The All Saints’ team, which is named S.L.A.M.M., is made up of seventh and eighth graders. Along with Alex Petley, they include fellow eighth-graders Silas Taylor and Elizabeth Bergin and seventh-grader McKinley Robinson-Rice. The team’s name is an acronym created from the students’ first names, plus the name of their mascot (a chihuahua, Mavis).

"I was shocked that we got the highest praised award at States! When we go to Worlds, I do not expect to win the whole thing, but I do expect our team to do well and to have lots of fun," said McKinley, the S.L.A.M.M. team builder.

"We didn't even think we were going to States. I can't believe we made it here," said Silas, S.L.A.M.M. team scout and driver.

"It was definitely a challenge to make it this far. It takes a lot of teamwork to have a successful robot and team,” said Alex.

"I feel proud that we have been able to overcome all the challenges we have faced over the past year together. We were honored to receive the Excellence Award at the VEX state competition because it showed that judges think we are the best. I am excited to travel, show our talents, and compete against the best in robotics. I am eager to experience the in-person World Robotics Competition,” said Elizabeth, the team documenter.

The team has been working on a robot that can win the Vex game “Over Under.” Students start with pieces of metal, screws, nuts, axles, sensors and robot electronics (brain, radio, controller, battery) to build a robot that can shoot, lift, and move triballs, score in a net, and climb a post. Students have been working on their robot since May 2023.

The design process is always evolving. The S.LA.M.M. team is now rebuilding their robot with a new design and new strategy, hoping to improve on the robot that won the state tournament.

“The team is very excited to compete in the world competition. Our school will be representing the state of Maine and the United States in this competition. It will be an amazing cultural experience and the competition level will be higher than we have ever experienced before,” said Casey Murphy, the All Saints’ robotics coach. “The students are so excited for this opportunity. They are showing up at 7 a.m. every day to build, program, drive, and document before the start of the school day.”

All Saints Catholic School is one of three teams from Maine chosen to compete in the world championship. The school serves students from pre-K through 8th grade.

More information about the Vex Robotics World Championship: Competition - VEX Robotics

Students with their winning robot
students with banner from winning robotics competition