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Palm Avenue makes it to world robotics stage

The Palm Avenue Middle School robotics team took high honors at the VEX Robotics World Championship in Dallas late last month.

Both the 1920R CLS Invaders and 1920D Coneheads teams were there representing Wasco. They went onto a global stage, competing against over 400 teams split into divisions of 80-plus teams from all over the world, including facing teams from Korea, China, Australia, the United Kingdom and across the United States April 27-30.

Students on the 1920D team are Sebastian Espitia, Teagan Perkins, Aiden Alvarez and Gabriel Martinez. They previously had advanced to the California State Region 3 Tournament and were eliminated in the quarterfinals. Thanks to their strong skills and effort, placing 4th, they earned a spot at the Dallas event. Three on the team are 8th graders and have competed in robotics competitions for two years.

Students on the 1920R team are Zachary Avila, Isaac Galvan, Robert Fernandez, Jiraiya Rodriguez and Sophia Avila. They went 5-2 at the California State Region 3 Tournament, advancing to the quarterfinals. Judges felt their team interview demonstrated effective communication skills, teamwork and a student-centered ethos, and they were awarded the Judges Award.

During the skills round, they scored 193 points, which was good for 3rd place. One member of this team is an 8th grader.

Yelina Garcia and Marisol Martinez were also integral to the teams, scouting out the other teams and devising game strategies and designs.

Earlier in the season, The REC Foundation awarded Palm Avenue Middle School a grant to expand its robotics program this season and the next. This support provided equipment that is being utilized to promote robotics education in the community.

Palm Avenue Middle School has four robotics teams, coached by Lisa Rogers and Alberto Duran.

“What an incredible experience for our Robotics teams!,” Dean of Students Michael Polley said. “1920D Coneheads finished the tournament exceptionally, being the last team from Kern County still competing. Their overall record ended up being 8-2, ranking 12th out of 82 teams, and they were playoff qualifiers. Their journey ended in the first round of the Math bracket. 1920R competed and finished in the top half of their section, ranking 5-5 in the top half of the Arts Sections. Both teams did an excellent job representing Palm Avenue, our District and Wasco as a community,

Coach Duran enjoyed watching the scene. “The competition was fierce. All the teams were state or section champs, and we were slaying giants! Watching them compete and hearing from teachers and administrators throughout the district as they watched from the classrooms and offices cheering on our students was so exciting! Seeing our students compete on a global stage is something we will never forget! We are so proud of our students.”

“We’ve only been in robotics for two years, and the fact that we made it all the way to the world level is an amazing accomplishment for our school and our community,” said Coach Rogers. “They are an inspiration to the student body because many students are now interested in robotics because of all of the success the robotics students had this year.

“It was inspiring for our robotics students to be introduced to speakers at the world level who were once just like them, with similar backgrounds and dreams, and are now successful working for companies like NASA and defense companies like Lockheed Martin.”

“We want to thank the parents of our robotics students for their continued support this season,”. Duran said. “We also want to thank the district for supporting our program and allowing us to attend this event,”


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