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After a very eventful week, we are excited to announce that GISD came in 4th in the Create U.S. Open Robotics Championship.  The team starred the Oppe Dolphins.  Team 463G Adrian Maldonado and Isaiah Martinez- Praga.  A second team, 463J featuring Caroline Mielsch and Rory Luza came in 6th. Not only were there teams across the country, but several seats were filled by international teams as well. The GISD teams made friendships with the teams from Kazakhstan and Canada.

GISD entered both elementary and Middle school students into the event. Prior to this year, tournaments that required travel were reserved only for our well-known team 400, Former regional, state, and world champions. This year was originally marked up as a learning year. Coaches and elementary and middle school students were embarking on journeys that had never been taken for our district. Our hope as a district to start the robotics bug early, and “gear” them up to earn prestigious titles like their predecessors. The students took off on their journey to the Create U.S. Open Robotics Championship with no expectations. The teams put in a lot of work, and they were so focused on working with their heads down all year that when they made it to the tournament and lifted their heads, they were excited to learn that their hard work had paid off, and they were extremely competitive.  They had never done this before and were there to soak up and learn from the experience. They were to observe other teams, take note of strategy, and game plan for next year. No one knew what to expect.

While GISD teams have qualified over the past years, due to COVID, they have been unable to participate in events such as these. GISD students learned some life lessons with travel that definitely made them more worldly than they were before they set out. They learned the frustrations of canceled flights, always keeping positive attitudes, and the value of perseverance. By overcoming some challenges the trip presented at the beginning of the adventure, and the district’s can-do attitude, the district received special recognition at the opening ceremony along with some fancy robot dances from southwest flight staff at the airport gates. 

Ball High student Christian Leitzell was the head referee at the event, and Ball High’s Yaneli Hernandez assisted with the administrative aspects of running the tournament. Our programs are student-run, and the expectations are set that students will be able to run all aspects of large-scale events independently, essentially making them experts in the industry.  

Students attending from Austin Middle School were led by their coach Mrs. Marks and accompanied by their Principal, Mrs. Mendoza. 

Teams were 

-418 D Thanusnveni Arulentiran, Annie Conley, Luke Perez, and Carlos Jiminez

-418 G Mohammad Hussain, Tanner Osterhout, 

-418 N Prudence Thomasson, Addison Pickavance, and Max Pickavance

-418m- Miguel Mendoza, Aayden Ramos, and  Adrian Turner

Students attending from Oppe were led by a team of coaches, Wesley Holland, Holly Neuman,  Carol Belong, and Angie Jackson. 

Teams were

-463A Angelina Castro,  Bethsy Aguilar Garcia,  Yaritzy Lopez Veliz, Maggie Rodriguez 

-463J Caroline Mielsch, Rory Luza 

-463B Mia Pintacuda, Phoebe Neumann, Zoe Dellosso

-463G- Adrian Maldonado, Isaih Martinez-Praga

We also had two special assistants learning the ins and outs of running and hosting tournaments from Austin Middle School. Parker Holland, and Mackenzie Mielsch, assisted with Inspections, scorekeeping, team check-ins, and queuing. 

We look forward to continuing our success in Dallas at the Vex Robotics World Championship with 16 qualified teams from 4 different GISD campuses competing. Ball High, Crenshaw, Weis, Austin, and Oppe have all proceeded to qualify and will compete alongside the very best in May representing our district.