Notre Dame High School’s robotics team, the Janksters, brought home a championship win from this year’s CalGames competition held at Fremont High School. Teams from all over the Bay Area gathered to compete in a spirited environment that prompted intellectual stimulation and encouraged effective collaboration with like-minded peers. This year’s CalGames was highly anticipated by the Janksters, who saw this as an opportunity to both rekindle old connections with previous alliances and fully immerse their rookies in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) spirit. The event is an important precursor to the regular season FIRST Robotics Competition season which runs from January through April and includes more than 5,000 teams.
The Janksters, 50 girls strong for this event, showed exceptional teamwork and had strong qualifying matches on Friday night and early Saturday morning of the three-day event. Their performance and relationships with other teams resulted in an alliance with the Space Cookies, a team sponsored by the Girl Scouts and The Gear Gremlins from Serra High School for the final part of the competition. The alliance won their first quarterfinal match 142 to 81 with the highest score achieved by any team at that point in the competition. Both the semifinals and final rounds were won in sudden-death third matches, with the Janksters and their alliance partners ending the day with a first-place win.
In addition, the Janksters received the System Design Award in recognition of the excellent design and reliability of their robot’s scaling mechanism. “The judges took note of our robot’s mechanism in the field but were also impressed by our team’s ability to explain how it worked as well as the testing and redesign process,” said Marta Carrillo, robotics director for Notre Dame High School. “The scaling mechanism was a test of resilience for our students as they worked to perfect it.”
“Our robotics team bringing home the CalGames championship is not a surprise,” shared Notre Dame High School Principal Mary Beth Riley. “The Janksters epitomize the best of 21st century learning – they apply critical thinking, problem solving, reasoning and analysis to the knowledge they have and do so in cooperation with each other. Their results speak to the importance of teamwork and we’re so proud of how they represent Notre Dame.”
Marta Carrillo, who received the Mentor of the Year Award, was recognized for her leadership and ability to inspire and empower the Notre Dame Robotics Team. “Marta has been instrumental in building the Notre Dame robotics program,” said Principal Riley.
“Her emphasis on building leadership skills and awareness of STEAM programs and opportunities in our students is important in helping us continue to grow women’s leadership and engagement in careers and fields where they have been underrepresented such as science, engineering and math. Our young women will change those statistics, and Marta is part of making that happen.”
For more information regarding Notre Dame High School, please visit, www.ndsj.org.