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31 Puerto Rican students to participate in global robotics competition

A delegation of seven teams made up of 31 students, from middle school, high school and up to university level, will represent Puerto Rico in the VEX Robotics World Championship next April in Dallas, Texas, the Caribbean Robotics Academy announced.

“In addition to developing the best robot, overcoming challenges of the competition and others that arise, the champions of the Puerto Rican delegation are also immersed in fundraising to cover their expenses for food, uniforms, delegation transfers and robots, among others, which exceed $100,000,” said Kelianet Roque, project director of the nonprofit organization Caribbean Robotics Academy.

“This is why we urge everyone who can to make their donation, and to organizations and companies to become official sponsors of the Delegation of Puerto Rico to the VEX Robotics World Championship 2023,” said Roque.

Individual donations can be sent through ATH Móvil/CroboticsA, and businesses and organizations wishing to become sponsors should call (787) 503-8161, she said.

The local champions will hold training events open to the public, one of them with the possibility of expanding the participation of native talent in this championship, certified by the Guinness World Record as the largest robotics competition in the world.

“Puerto Rico will bring extraordinary representation because we have a delegation from different regions of the island and three academic levels, including the university,” said Roque.

“All students have strived to represent their island facing immense challenges inside and outside the competition, and we’re extremely proud of them and eager to see them shine in the world championship,” said Roque.

“In this year’s delegation we have veteran students of up to 6 years of experience, along with novice students with an impressive hunger to learn and develop their skills,” said Pedro Alvarado, executive director of CRA.

Alvarado mentioned that the “CRA’s goal is to take the knowledge of students to a level never seen in Puerto Rico to expose them to new opportunities and multicultural experiences, positioning Puerto Rico as a world power in the field of robotics.”

Alvarado and Roque — both engineers and graduates of the development programs of REC Foundation, coordinator of the VEX Robotics World Championship — founded Caribbean Robotics Academy last year after seeing the need to reactivate the events after the decline caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This type of experience not only provides children with academic or intellectual challenges, but it also helps them socialize, learn to work as a team to solve problems, manage their frustration, design plans, and manage projects, among other professional and life tools, Roque explained.

“We were competitors, mentors and judges for more than 10 years on the VEX platform, and all this experience made us want to transmit the passion we have for robotics to the new generations,” said Alvarado.

“It’s very satisfying to see the perseverance of our students and how they have faced with resilience the various challenges that Puerto Rico has had,” said Alvarado.

The teams that make up the delegation that will go to Dallas, Texas, this year are made up of students from Colegio San José de San Juan, Hogar Colegio La Milagrosa de Arecibo, Colegio Adianez in Guaynabo, members of the Municipal Robotics Club of Salinas (two teams), KHU Inventors club, and university students of the Mayagüez Campus of the University of Puerto Rico.

In preparation for the global event on Apr. 24-29, the delegation will hold a series open to the public on the following dates: Mar. 4 at Colegio Adianez; Mar. 18 at the Angel Luis “Cholo” Espada Coliseum in Salinas; on Mar. 25 at Colegio San José, and on Apr. 15, a few days before leaving for Texas, they will be tested at Hogar Colegio La Milagrosa.

Roque said there is an opportunity for other robotics teams that meet the requirements of the VEX Robotics World Championship and that have a competition robot to also register for the last qualifying event that will be in Puerto Rico, the Robot Skills Challenge, which will be held on Mar. 18 in Salinas.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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