GD Robotics Team Excels at WPI Competition!

G-D Robotics Team Excels at WPI Competition!
Ginger Vollmar, Publicity for the GDRHS Robotics Team

The Groton Dunstable High School Robotics team, “The Robotomies”, participated in the 2016 FIRST Robotics “FIRST Stronghold” competition at WPI this past weekend. We are happy to report that the team excelled and advanced well beyond anyone’s expectations! This was a thrilling event for all of the team members, mentors, parents and fans that came out to support the team.

There were 80 qualifying matches for the 40 teams represented over the first day and a half. Our team had 12 qualifying matches and after the first 11, we were ranked #1 with a record of 9-1-1. In our last qualifying match, we lost by one point due to one of our alliance members trying an unnecessary maneuver and failing, which cost us 10 points. With an overall record of 9-2-1, we ended up ranked #3 at the end of the qualifying matches!! This was an incredible accomplishment! It is interesting to note that a mere 2 years ago, at this same venue, our robot could barely move, let alone win any matches.

This year’s robot was able to beat every defense, every time and move all around the playing field with ease. The top 8 teams moved on to the finals round on Sunday afternoon. As the #3 team, we got to pick our two alliances to work with during the quarter finals. We were not able to put together our “dream team” but we had a good team. Unfortunately, we lost in the tie breaker match of the quarter finals (it is best out of 3). We had lots of hoarse voices due to cheering on our team and our robot. It was an amazing weekend of competition for the Robotomies. Now we are looking forward to our next regional competition in Providence, RI on March 25th and 26th. Expect more great things from this team.

Mr. Mark Rocheleau, robotics teacher and mentor had this to say: “I’m so very proud of these kids. Many of them have been along on this 3-season robotics ride with me and I’ve watched as they have refused to give up, learned from their mistakes, and finally, succeeded. Our team built an amazing robot this year and they took the time to fully understand the game and how to maximize points. Because of this we have a LOT to be proud of!”

Our students also showed an impressive level of “gracious professionalism” (a term coined by FIRST’s Professor Woodie Flowers) by helping out other teams. One such instance came in our very first match Saturday morning when our own drive team jumped in to help another team in need. While waiting in the queue (minutes away from our first match), Charlie Andrews began fixing another team’s code while the others helped them attempt to repair a wiring issue in the robot. This kind of skill, leadership and community spirit demonstrates the quality students we have here at GD.

You can visit our web site at for more information about the Robotomies or like us on Facebook at “GD Team 1277”.

All funding for the Robotics team is privately raised. The Robotomies are thrilled to have gotten more sponsors this year. We would like to thank all of our current sponsors who provide funding for the entrance fees for the FIRST competitions and for materials. Thank you to: Justin J. Maynard Memorial STEM Innovation Scholarship; The Department of Defense STEM Program; The Society for American Military Engineers; Raytheon; Ted & Connie Lapres Fund; Mercury Systems; Groton Board of Trade; IBM Northeast Community Grant Program; GE Oil & Gas; Solidworks; the Webber Restaurant Group; Harris Corporation; MJR Engineering Co.; the Hughson Family; and the Adams Family. Additional sponsorships are always welcomed and appreciated.

If you have questions or would like to help support the Robotics team, please contact Mr. Mark Rocheleau at