Bishop Noll Institute hosts 'Royal Rumble' robotics competition for young minds

Forget the wrestling, this "Royal Rumble" was all about brains, teamwork and the ingenuity of elementary school robotics whizzes. More than 45 teams and 100 students from across Northwest Indiana and Wisconsin descended upon Bishop Noll Institute Jan. 27 for the MSLR Robotics' inaugural "Full Volume" VEX IQ robotics competition.
While the competitors were young, the challenges were anything but elementary. Students put their coding and engineering skills to the test as their custom-built robots battled it out in a series of minute-long matches across four different fields. Bishop Noll high school students stepped up to the plate, acting as guides for the younger participants. They handled team check-ins and ensured smooth transitions between matches.
     Bishop Noll STEM teacher Brian Lambie explained, “Every 4 minutes our students had to have two different teams checked in and ready to set up next. With nearly 200 matches between 59 teams, they were hard at work all day. They expressed that it was fun but tiring, and had a feeling of accomplishment at the end.”
     Bishop Noll junior Cara Van Til attended the event as a BNI representative. She took photos throughout the day's competition.
     “I would say my favorite part was trying to learn their version of the VEX rules,” Van Til said. “Our school uses VEX V5, whereas the competition used VEX IQ.”
Van Til, who plans to pursue a career in the STEM world as either a civil engineer or architect, enjoys Noll’s STEM program.
     “We get to challenge our minds,” she said. “Not only do we have to learn how to build these robots, but we also need to know how to code them and what regulations we need to keep in mind.”
Bishop Noll STEM teacher Mary Albrecht said she was in awe of MSLR Robotics, the group that put on the competition.
     “I loved working with them to put on the first VEX robotics competition at BNI! I learned so much.The student teams were incredible,” she said.
     Lambie said Bishop Noll likely will continue to cooperate with MSLR Robotics moving forward.
     “We would love to bring their expertise to the high school level competition of VRC. We will also get a jump on next year by practicing with in-house scrimmage matches and planning early for next year's competition.”
     Bishop Noll Institute is a Catholic, co-educational four-year high school under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gary. Now in its 103rd school year, Bishop Noll consistently receives high rankings from the Indiana Department of Education and offers the only STREAM (incorporating the principles of Science, Technology, Engineering, Religion, Art and Math) program in Northwest Indiana. For more information on enrollment, visit bishopnoll.org or email admissions@bishopnoll.org.
     For more information on the robotics competition, visit http://www.mslrrobotics.org/.
Bishop Noll Institute, a diverse, Catholic college preparatory school, partners with local faith communities to empower young adults to live their faith in Christ through ministry, scholarship, and leadership.