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Young minds shine on Robotics Day

BY Nubia Reyna | THE RIDER

More than 350 students from 62 middle and high schools of the Rio Grande Valley participated last Thursday in “Robotics Day,” which was part of the Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology Week (HESTEC), in the Jacob Brown Auditorium.

STEM Programs Director Javier Garcia said he was excited that Robotics Day took place in Brownsville.

“Diversity is very important,”

Garcia said. “We do have good, talented Latinos that are in engineering and science, but we don’t have enough.”

Garcia hopes that events like this one inspire Hispanic students to become engineers.

Students competed in groups in such categories as team spirit, Lego grand prix, Lego pull challenge using Lego Mindstorms programmable robots.

Sponsors also enjoyed the event.
“It’s been a lot of fun with the kids and everything,” said Peter Lounsbery from Border Technology by Peter. “Everybody cooperated. … It ran really smooth.”

After several trivia games, judges, staff members, and organizers announced the first-, second- and third-place winners.

“We’ve been waiting all day for this,” said Tim Smith, master of ceremonies for the event. “Your overall champion of this year is Alton Memorial Middle School.”

After receiving medals, a tablet and the biggest trophy of the event, the Alton coaches and students posed for the camera.

“You have to fail in order to succeed,” said Robert Granados, the coach of Alton Memorial Junior High School. “In the previous years, we were always so close to win, but yet we never jumped that little hump that we had.”

The school has participated for four consecutive years in this event.

“We had two third places,” said fellow Alton Coach Sammy Rivera. “There was a lot of good competition.”

“We keep setting the bar really high and these kids keep matching it,” Rivera said. “They never quit on us.”

Rivera said the first prize was well deserved for Alton.

“It was a really intense competition,” Granados said.

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