Articles Written By: Julia Green

All Girls Competition 2017

November 13, 2017
On Saturday, November 11, 2017 the Killer Bees of Notre Dame Preparatory finished the FIRST Robotics Competition offseason by co-hosting the 5th annual All Girls Tournament in partnership with teams from Bloomfield Hills High School, International Academy – Central and Brandon Schools. After six rounds of qualifying matches, the Killer Bees partnered with FRC Teams 2337 (Grand Blanc), 240 (Monroe) and 4961 (Almont) to win the tournament.
The tournament provides women on FIRST Robotics Competition teams the opportunity to drive and operate robots built by students and professional engineers. The “pit crews” must be all female as well. Other team members provided advice, assistance, scouting data and input on strategy. This event provides all students on the team with new perspectives and opportunities to perform in new roles.

Photo Credit: Nick Coussens

Thirty-two teams, from Michigan and Canada participated in the event, brought more than 300 high school aged women to the competition giving them the opportunity to meet college representatives, compete with robots and earn scholarships. Junior Lorena Dorantes, a member of the Killer Bees commented, “It was really cool to work with other girls and it was an unbelievable experience to be behind the glass driving the robot for the first time. It was fun to learn with other girls on the team. I really enjoyed setting up the robot for the match and getting it down safely after it climbed the rope. I learned more about how strategy comes into game play.”
The FIRST Alumni and Mentors Network from the University of Michigan provided many volunteers for the event. The college students took a break from their homework, sharing their expertise and knowledge with the high school students. Amanda Kline was named as Volunteer of the Year for her work as a technical resource for the participating high school teams.
Five $1000 scholarships were awarded to senior women from FRC teams 772 Sabre Bytes (Lasalle, Ontario), 2834 Bionic Black Hawks (Bloomfield Hills), 68 Truck Town Thunder (Brandon), 1189 the Gear Heads (Grosse Pointe), 3322 the Eagle Imperium (Ann Arbor). Faurecia of Auburn Hills and Thyssen Krupp provided generous support to the scholarship fund.

MARC 2017 – How to train your dragon aka new drivers

The team competed this weekend at MARC in Monroe. As is the tradition, it was a very warm and steamy gym in late June, but we kept cool with free ice cream and air conditioned pit areas. At the end of the qualification matches, we were ranked #2 and were selected by Goodrich RoboticsTeam 494 Martians as the #1 Alliance and added Robostangs 548. We battled hard in 3 matches in quarterfinals and 3 exciting final matches, earning the finalist trophy and a judged award for our autonomous routines.

Congratulations to Team 51 (Pontiac Wings of Fire) and The EngiNERDs – Team 2337 and FIRST Team 1732 – Hilltopper Robotics from Milwaukee, Wisconsin as the 2017 MARC Champions.

As a side note – one of our Killer Bee rules is “Never Give Up”. Team 2337 was in last place at the end of the qualification matches on Friday night and ended up as the 16th ranked team and ultimately as the MARC winner.

Our next competition is the Indiana Robotics Invitational in July!

Summer of Fun and Robots

The summer of 2017 will feature some very busy Killer Bees!

Buzz 22 has been to elementary/middle school visits and NDP’s Freshman Launch to recruit new students for the 2017-18 year.  We are excited as Notre Dame Prep is constructing a new wing to include new classrooms and a robotics lab.  This will allow even more students to bee Killer Bees!  Our application process will formally begin in mid-August.

The team will bee at several off-season competitions, playing the 2017 FIRST game, “Steamworks”.  We are playing several tournaments including the MARC (Monroe Area Robotics Competition) on June 23-24, the (IRI) Indianapolis Robotics Invitational on July 13-15, Kettering Kickoff on September 16 and we are co-hosting the Bloomfield All Girls Tournament on November 11, 2017.  We had a great FIRST season and are looking forward to more fuel shooting, gear hanging and robot climbs over the summer.

In addition to our off-season competitions, our outreach program will return to some of our favorite places – the Baldwin Center in Pontiac and the Maker Faire at the Henry Ford museum.  We are adding a new project to build collaboration with other Catholic high school teams, working at the Forgotten Harvest farm in Fenton.

Over the summer, the Killer Bees will sharpen and learn new skills by building VEX robots to play the VEX EDR game, “In the Zone”.  We will have many teams showcasing creative solutions to the engineering challenge and are looking forward to the 7th annual Killer Bees VEX Tournament in December.

And – last but not least, the students and mentors are fueled up and working to iterate and update the most interesting subsystem of the the 2017 robot.  Stay tuned for details!

We have an official team motto, “Teamwork keeps the hive alive” and an unofficial motto, “The Hive Never Sleeps”.  The summer of 2017 will be a great example of both.



Recycle Rush – 2015 Robot

Design Binder 2015


The Killer Bees first event of Recycle Rush was in the Southfield district. In addition to winning the event, we also earned the Industrial Design Award sponsored by General Motors. In our second district event, in Troy, we won the event and were selected for the prestigious Chairman’s Award.

At the Michigan State Championships, we were ranked 5th, and selected 1918 and 4130 as alliance partners and finished as quarterfinalists.

We were excited to play on the inaugural Hopper division at the FIRST Championships and partnered with 548 and 1676. We finished as semi-finalists.

Our offseason events included MARC, playing with team 67 and 910, winning the competition. We took a road trip to the IRI, seeding 28th and playing on the alliance with 68, 195 and 233. Buzz 20 went on the road again at the Kettering Kickoff and the All Girls Tournament, winning more trophies.