Our Lady of Peace Robotics Team Wins State Championship Award

Back Row L-R: Matthew Mazzuca, Thomas Ericksen, Robert Greeley, Matthew Ruane, Coach Alys Tyler and Mentor Dr. Gail Seely; Front Row L-R: Kyle Hue, Michelle Maita, Hannah Kurian, Therese Ruane, Angie Maita, and Genevieve Nitzsche.

MT. OLIVE, NJ - The Academy of Our Lady of Peace Robotics Team took the top prize in the First LEGO League (“FLL”) State Championship at Mount Olive High School.

FLL Robotics is a global competition wherein each team must research and solve a current real-world issue. The theme of this year’s competition was “Nature’s Fury,” challenging teams to propose solutions to issues created by natural disasters.  Each team must also assemble and program a robot which completes many designated tasks in the competition.

The “Panther Power” Robotics Team studied and researched issues faced by local governments and emergency responders in dealing with natural disasters. The team conducted interviews with medical experts and local officials, including New Providence Police Chief Buccelli, who explained the dangers created by flooding after storms. Open manholes or storm drains and possible debris make walking through floods perilous for police officers responding to emergencies.  

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Every New Providence patrolman is equipped with a long wooden device to help navigate flood areas. The students observed the device currently used by the NPPD and found that the wooden sticks easily warp and become covered in mold.  In response, the Panther Power team designed and created the “Stickler of Safety” (“SOS”), a PVC pole used to help detect and avoid manholes, storm drains and other obstacles in flooded areas.

The SOS is non-conductive, sturdy, and buoyant and doesn’t mold or splinter. Panther Power was excited to create a better alternative to the wooden device currently in use, and donated several to the NPPD. The students also shared the results of their research and innovative solution with New Providence residents and members of the Borough Council at a recent community meeting and state officials at the New Jersey State League of Municipalities Conference in Atlantic City.

After winning the Championship Award at a regional competition in November, the team was invited to compete at the FLL state finals, as it has every year since the program’s inception. On March 8, the AOLP Panther Power Team competed against the top 60 ranked teams in New Jersey. After earning high marks for its robot performance and presentation to a panel of judges, Panther Power achieved the rank of State Champions/Second Place and won the FLL State Champion’s Award recognizing their excellence and innovative solution.

After its big win at The FLL State Finals, the Panther Power team has been invited to attend the prestigious FLL North American Open Championship at Legoland California in May, to compete against the top teams in the country.

The Academy of Our Lady of Peace and the community of New Providence are very proud of its students and congratulate AOLP Panther Power on its impressive win at the FLL State Finals, and invitation to the FLL National Competition!

The Academy of Our Lady of Peace is a private Catholic cchool located in downtown New Providence with students in grades Pre-K3 through Grade 8. Offering a challenging academic curriculum and many enrichment activities within a religious atmosphere, The Academy of Our Lady of Peace strives to inspire and prepare each student to achieve their personal best. For more information, please visit or call the school office at (908) 464-8657.



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