St. Mary Catholic Middle School (SMCMS) has robotics teams that participate in two different competition venues—FIRST Lego League (FLL) and VEX Robotics. The FLL team is open to students in grades 6-8 and takes part in the nationwide FIRST program, which focuses on students addressing a problem that they identify within the year’s theme and then work with a community organization to come up with a creative solution. Their competitions involve doing a presentation on their project and putting a robot they have built through predetermined exercises to earn points.

Last fall, the SMCMS FLL Team advanced to the district competition when they competed in a regional tournament at Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland, Wisconsin. They competed in four events against 32 teams and finished as one of the top 10 teams, won the Innovative Solutions Award and earned the right to move to the next level of competition.

The judges stated that the problem the team chose to solve and their solution to it was the best they saw that day. In cooperation with the Fox Valley Humane Society, students created a survey that the shelter can use to improve the way that the dogs in the shelter are matched with the people seeking to adopt one.


In cooperation with the St. Mary Catholic High School’s robotics program, the middle school also offers a VEX Robotics Team that is open to eighth grade students. The team meets in the SMCS STEM Center, which is located on the schools’ shared campus, and is dedicated to supporting STEM education and co-curricular activities including robotics, aeronautics and electronics.

The team, 1200K-The Terminators, excelled at their first tournament, the VEXtravaganza Middle School Robotics Tournament in Appleton. The team finished 8-0 in qualifying rounds and went on to captain the tournament championship alliance, winning the tournament. The team’s win qualifies them to compete in the Wisconsin Middle School VEX Robotics State Championship and the CREATE U.S. Open.


For more information about St. Mary Catholic Middle School or its robotics offerings, contact SMCMS Principal Mike Zuleger at [email protected] or 727-0279.