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Alton Memorial Jr. High ranks in state robotics competition

20140425 AMJH-4th-place-state-robotics-teamMISSION—Out of 60 teams competing at the Texas Computer Education Association State competition, four from Mission CISD placed in the top 20.

The Gold Robo-Rangers of Alton Memorial Jr. High School took fourth place in their first year of competition.

Robert Granados, mathematics teacher and robotics coach, said through intense after school practice and mock trials, students worked hard for their success. He explained they would cover design and create mock competitions, which helped students prepare.

“We like to teach our students no matter where you come from you can keep up with everyone else,” Granados said. “We are very honored. It is rewarding to be competing with schools who have been doing it for years and we took fourth place.”

The robotics program started with migrant students but has now been opened up as an extracurricular activity at the campus.

Alton Memorial also is home to the Green Robo-Rangers, which took 12th place. The Charlie Hawk Team took 10th place and Bravo Hawk Team took 20th; both teams are housed at K. White Jr. High.

“This has opened a lot of doors, the students are really strong in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math),” said Sammy Rivera, science teacher and coach, said. “The kids don’t want to go home, they just want to keep working. They see it as a challenge and want to overcome it.”

Multiple students who participated in the robotics competition are also participating in the National Science Bowl Competition in Washington, D.C., this week. The Alton Memorial team is one out of four schools representing Texas at the national competition and is competing against 49 top teams in the nation.

Granados said the students’ success starts off with great leadership and trickles down; he added Principal Sylvia Garcia plays an important role in how the teachers work and play their roles.

“The kids just want to be part of something and whatever they put in, they get back,” Granados said. “We look forward to next year because now the kids have bragging rights.”

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