MS Robotics Advances to State Championship
The Wilbraham & Monson Academy Middle School has rightfully earned a positive reputation in a notable field.
For the third year in a row, the Middle School Robotics team has advanced to the highest level of competition in the state.
WMS placed fifth among 30 teams at the 12th annual First Lego League Qualifying Tournament Saturday at Western New England University, which secured a spot at Saturday’s Massachusetts First Lego League Championship at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
The WMS program, which includes 17 students, is coached by faculty members Mr. Luke Pelletier and Ms. Diana Cost. The students were split into two teams for the event. The group that advanced also won a first-place trophy for Mechanical Design.
Mr. Pelletier on how the program has grown recently: “It’s tripled in size this year. And there seems to be a lot of interest from an admission standpoint. When people visit the school they are asking questions about it. We’re gaining a reputation. There’s a local robotics team in the area that was asking for my help at the competition – how to work their sensors. We’re getting a name out there.”
Mr. Pelletier on the team taking first place for Mechanical Design: “We won the Mechanical Design Award based on what the students know about the robot. What the judges are looking for is can the students tell the history of the robot. They’re getting a feel whether the coach built this thing or did the students. Obviously, I give some direction, but I’m very proud of the last couple years. I have not been building. I may re-do something to show them, or I may critique something and have them re-do it, but that robot, the students built. I take pride in that.”
Padraig Dunbar ’26 on the experience at the qualifying tournament: “At first it was a little nerve-wracking, but as we kept going it was more fun. We kept getting better and better. It was a great experience. It was also helpful because I was able to learn that I was able to stand up in front of an audience and do great things that I wouldn’t think I was able to do.”
Dakotah Thomas ’26 on the team winning the Mechanical Design Award: “We got the trophy because we used (Lego) mushrooms, which was like an axle, and we had the tire on it and the judges liked that, and that was how we put the different attachments on. So when we explained that to them they were impressed.”