The Team

Cheesy Poof Mascots

Early History

Since 1998, FIRST Team 254, “The Cheesy Poofs,” has grown from one of the smallest programs in the country at a struggling high school to a large, multifaceted organization. In 1998, the NASA Robotics Alliance Project was founded and program executive Dave Lavery called on NASA engineer Mark Leon to lead the formation of a high school robotics team near NASA’s Ames Research Center. Mark, also a volunteer martial arts instructor at Broadway High School in San Jose, recruited NASA engineers Bob Holmes and Steve Kyramarios, Broadway English teacher Jason Morrella, and a handful of Broadway students to form “The Manglers,” a Botball Robotics team. In April 1998, the Mangler team took second in a NASA Ames sponsored competition. Later in the season, the team traveled to the FIRST Robotics nationals in Florida and decided to form a FIRST Robotics Team for the upcoming season.

In Fall 1998, Broadway high school registered FIRST Robotics Team 252, “The Bay Bombers” for the inaugural NASA Ames Regional competition in Spring 1999. A second team, 254, was accidentally registered and was named “The Cheesy Poofs.” At the Ames regional, Team 254 was picked by Team 100 from nearby Woodside High School and went on to win the tournament and the Rookie All-Star award. The team traveled to the National Championship as 254 and was awarded a Judges’ Award and the Presidential Classroom Leadership Scholarship. After the competition was over, the team worked with NASA to support the formation of the first two FIRST teams in Hawaii – 359 and 368. The next year, Broadway High School returned to the FIRST Robotics Competition as one team – Team 254, “The Cheesy Poofs” and won two regionals and a National Judges’ Award for “Grit and Determination.”

In fall 2000, Broadway High School was downsized and the program moved to Bellarmine College Preparatory. In the years since, the team’s footprint has steadily grown. The team’s membership increased and outreach efforts grew to match. Team 254 continued to compete nationwide and its tradition of excellence held strong. In 2004, the team was awarded the FIRST Chairman’s Award, the highest award in the program, and was inducted into the FIRST Hall of Fame in recognition of its extraordinary program.


In recent years, Team 254 has seen unprecedented success. The team’s enrollment has grown and its footprint of impact has widened. In 2011, 2014, 2017, 2018, and 2022, the team won the FIRST Robotics Championship. Team 254 now has the most championship wins, blue banners, Einstein appearances, and regional wins in all of the First Robotics Competition, and the team has hosted engineering fairs and attended the White House Science Fair in recent years.


In 2008, The Cheesy Poofs entered a team in the FIRST Tech Challenge, a competition utilizing smaller robots. FTC Team 567 won its local tournaments and performed well at the World Championship. Team 254 did not participate in FTC from 2009 to 2023. For the 2023-2024 school year, The Cheesy Poofs plan to enter five teams in the FIRST Tech Challenge

VEX (2009 – 2023)

The Cheesy Poofs competed in the VEX Robotics Competition from 2009 to 2023. From 2009 to 2022, the team hosted the annual Bellarmine Bay Area VEX Robotics Competition. In 2011, the team was awarded the VEX Championship Excellence Award, the highest award in the competition, in recognition of its program on and off the playing field. In 2022, 254F won the World Championship. As of the 2023-2024 school year, Team 254 is no longer participating in VEX and has moved its programs back to FTC.


Team 254 has engaged with the community by hosting Chezy Champs, an annual offseason event for the top performing FRC teams from around the globe since 2014. 254 has also participated in the annual Rose, White, and Blue annual event and Hot Nights in San Jose. The team is currently mentoring local rookie VEX, FTC, and VEX IQ teams here in San Jose to foster the passion of the STEM leaders of tomorrow.


Not only do Team 254 students acquire technical skill sets, they also learn the fundamentals of other corporate tasks, such as project management, leadership, team building, and marketing. More important than any competitive success or awards, the students of Team 254 grow academically, intellectually, and socially. Team 254 members gain a better understanding, a greater respect, and a more profound appreciation of the benefits of a good education. In line with the missions of parent organizations NASA and Bellarmine College Preparatory, Team 254 in a profound way inspires and motivates our students to avidly pursue their academic, career, and personal goals both during their time on the team and in their futures.

Mission Statement

We aim to equip a community of students passionate about science and technology with the skills and initiative to become the next generation of leaders and create positive change in their respective career fields.