PHARR –  Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD Santos Livas Elementary Robotics team was the only elementary team to recently qualify and compete at the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) State Robotics Contest in Hutto, Texas. The group of 5th grade students placed 12th out of 48 middle school and high school teams.

TCEA is a member-based organization devoted to the use of technology in education. Each year, during the spring, the organization offers robotics contests and training for educators supporting the use of technology and education. Students design, collaborate, build and test their robotics, working together to solve problems.

“All of the teams that participated in the state contest are to be congratulated for their performance,” said TCEA Executive Director Lori Gracey. “By working together to build the best possible robot, these students have been exploring STEM concepts and developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills, all while having a lot of fun.”

According to Sylvia Hernandez, Principal at Livas Elementary, the team of four students made an impression at the contest by being the only elementary team to compete and design an innovative robotic arm.

“The students spent time brainstorming what to create that would be innovative and beneficial,” said Hernandez. “They created a robotic arm for anyone with a disabled arm. All four students modeled excellent planning skills along with great customer service.”

The team members included:  Mark Delos Santos, Selena Trevino, Mariana Camacho and Eathan Cruz along with their sponsor, Rene Treviño.

In an effort to spark student interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers through robotics, PSJA ISD has partnered with numerous community leaders to spearhead the robotics movement in the Rio Grande Valley. Such partners include: the City of Pharr, City of Pharr Innovation and Technology/FIRST-RGV Department and the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley (UT-RGV) Engineering Department, which formed a UIL's inaugural robotics pilot program in the Rio Grande Valley. 

With the partnerships and efforts in mind, Hernandez said she is grateful for the incredible learning opportunities this brings to students.

“I salute my great teachers and all educators in PSJA that dedicate countless hours to make this type of opportunities attainable for our students,” said the Principal.