Robotics kicks off with first competition of the school year

Harlingen CISD hosted its first robotics competition of the 2019-20 school year on Saturday.

Robotics clubs from Early College High School, Harlingen High School South, and STEM2Preparatory Academy were joined by teams from around the Rio Grande Valley.

The competition follows the district-wide robotics kickoff held in September where students and sponsors came together to celebrate another year of innovation through science, technology, engineering, and math.

Last school year, both Early College High School robotics teams advanced to the world competition where they competed against international robotics teams.

“It’s sponsored by Star Wars this year, so it’s pretty cool,” said Early College High School Student Daniel Saucedo III. “Last year, we went to the world championship. This year, we are aiming our goals high, and we want to go back to the world championship because we really loved the experience. We want to prove ourselves again as a top team in the Rio Grande Valley.”

Elementary school robotics teams are also preparing to compete.

“Robotics is very important. It allows students to expand their horizons, and it makes learning fun,” said Pamela Garrett, a teacher and robotics sponsor at Rodriguez Elementary School. “As a coach, I am very excited about robotics. I get to see students’ eyes open up to the world of engineering. Their classroom studies seem to improve because they’re part of something that connects them to the bigger picture.”

Robotics competitions help foster innovation and real-world problem-solving skills that could lead to improvements in the future.

“Robotics is a passion of ours,” said Saucedo. “In the future, we could be influencing or changing something like a windmill, or one of us might create an open-heart surgery robot. With the direction we’re heading in through robotics, I think that’s possible.”

This past weekend’s competition was held in partnership with FIRST RGV, a non-profit dedicated to promoting STEM education throughout South Texas.

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