St. Stanislaus Robotics Team
ranks in the top 50 worldwide

FALL RIVER, Mass. — The Robotics Team from St. Stanislaus School in Fall River is just two years old, but already they rank 50th out of 10,000 teams worldwide.


In April, the six-member team travelled to Louisville, Ky. to compete in their second VEX IQ World Championship. They were one of only three teams to qualify from Massachusetts. Eighth-grade student Ryan Saucier said, “The World competition was a great real-world experience. Last year, we were in over our heads. This year, we earned the world’s respect.” They competed against 78 other teams in the Science Division and finished in eighth place.

It has been a lot of work to get to this point. Justin Silva, grade eight, shared; “We trained more than we ever expected, starting in July and meeting twice a week for practices. It was worth it, though. It really paid off in the end. Worlds was really fun.” They finished in first place in their opening two competitions this year which qualified them for regionals. At the 2018 VEX IQ Ringmaster Southern New England Regionals they won the Design Award which qualified them for Worlds.

According to Mark Falcon, team coach; “The robot is designed to collect plastic rings using a conveyor belt. After collecting at least six rings the robot will then use an arm that the rings are stored on to then dump them onto vertical posts. The team scores points on the number of rings placed on the posts and whether or not the rings are of uniform color.” Two teams work together to correctly place the most rings before time runs out.

“It has been fascinating to watch this team grow in their skills,” principal Jean Willis told The Anchor. “Their mentors, parents and engineers Lucy and Mark Falcon, made sure that the team built and tested robotic elements for each design idea that they had. As the students built the designs, their thinking grew more sophisticated and they sounded like engineers as they talked things out. When prototypes of design elements didn’t work, the team analyzed each problem and persevered through redesign and testing. They kept their focus on their goal and we saw the fruits of that at VEX Worlds. 

“The team has created an excitement and enthusiasm for robotics in the school. We hope that some of our graduates might come back to mentor the new members who have been working for two years with Julie Mills in our engineering club as a prerequisite to join the robotics team.”

Through participating in robotics, students learn not only engineering and programing, but also problem solving and team work. Sixth-grader Connor Gendron said, “Everybody did their part in designing, building, programming and driving our robot. We went through lots of design ideas for each function.” The Robotics Education and Competition (REC) Foundation who sponsors VEX IQ competitions hopes that students who participate will have an increased desire to pursue careers in STEM fields. Competitions also serve to broaden student’s exposure to other cultures and allows them to interact with peers from around the world. 

Zoe Millis, grade seven, spoke of her experience, “We got to compete with teams from Ecuador, New Zealand, China, Louisiana and Wisconsin. We even competed with a team whose family was traveling the U.S. in an RV for the year.”

For the St. Stanislaus Robotics team this spring marks the end of an era as four of their founding members are graduating. Never ones to shy from competition, the team looks forward to inviting new students to join them in their quest to return to worlds for a third time next year.

To learn more visit or contact Jean Willis at 508-674-6771 or

© 2019 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing    †    Fall River, Massachusetts