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 Local Students Recognized in Robotics Competition

Six local schools were recognized recently at a team robotics competition they were participating for the first time.

The schools were Carlton Oaks in Santee, Hoover High in San Diego Unified, Mar Vista Academy in Sweetwater Union, Monroe Clark Middle in San Diego Unified, Vista La Mesa in Lemon Grove, and Willow School in San Ysidro. All are part of San Diego State University's Exploring STEM Careers Initiative.

Forty teams from as far away as Arizona and Mexico competed March 21 in the Botball robotics competition at West Hills High School in Santee. Their assignment was to move their robots on a huge board in a geology survey-themed game, looking for minerals and UFOs.

Botball uses science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), along with computer code writing skills, to design, build, program, and document robots that move on a board.

Twelve teams that are part of the STEM initiative competed for the first time at the event against seasoned teams. They got support and training in January from professional engineers and college engineering students as part of a grant from the National Science Foundation.

San Diego Science Alliance has lead the Botball competition in Southern California for 15 years. Through the SDSU initiative, Botball provides equipment, software, curriculum, and professional development that helps educators teach students to write computer code and get with real-life engineering experience. The curriculum is aligned with state standards.

The awards given to the first-time teams in the initiative included:

  • Hoover High, third place Double Elimination
  • Mar Vista Academy, fourth place Double Elimination and Outstanding Overall Design
  • Carlton Oaks Middle, second place Alliance Challenge
  • Monroe Clark Middle, second place Alliance Challenge and Outstanding Rookie Team,
  • Vista La Mesa Middle, Outstanding Rookie Team
  • Willow School, Judge's Choice Trophy (KISS Award)

Pictured: Students from Hoover High with their teacher Jack Wetzel.