High School Robotics

Ultimate Robotics Team from United High School building their robot

Robotics is back in Laredo in a big way. A few years ago, one of the groups I belong to sponsored two robotics teams in two middle schools. Although there have been active high school groups, lately I have heard more about the United Engineering and Technology Magnet School’s Robotics Team.

Recently, I also got a call from a friend wanting to connect with civic groups that work with Robotics Team for funding to further experience with science and math… hmmm… sounds like something my club might want to do… Unfortunately, we got out of the robotics support business since our club is a little small but maybe other groups out there might be interested in backing robotics teams.

Check this letter out, it is asking for help from the community since it seems that this team is on a roll and wants to raise major bucks to compete NATIONALLY.

If you want the whole sponsorship packet, Robotics Sponsor.

We really do have smart kids in Laredo, we just need to provide that motivation for them to compete further. There are many many other ways to get involved with supporting challenging programs – it isn’t all about going to private schools, it is about having high expectations of our PUBLIC schools (that includes public officials – ha!).

The HS Team’s CEO writes her request:

My name is Vanessa Romero and I am the Chief Executive Officer of the ULTIMATE Robotics team from United Engineering and Technology Magnet School. I have been a member since my freshman year, and I am truly amazed at how far we’ve come. ULTIMATE Robotics began in 2002 with only a handful of students and ever since, not a year has gone by without the team bringing home an award from both BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science, & Technology) and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competitions. In 2010, the team earned 2nd Place on the Robot Competition and 2nd Place Overall at the national level. Today, our robotics team is composed of 70+ working students from grades 9 through 12.

ULTIMATE Robotics brings together students with different skills and abilities and provides them with the means to sharpen those skills in a real-world situation. With a 99% college attendance rate, these students apply such skills by giving back to the community and educating Laredo on the importance of math, engineering, science, and technology. Our motto is “Building Futures, Not Just Robots”; therefore, every summer since 2005, the ULTIMATE Robotics team has hosted a Youth Lego Robotics Camp.
And that’s not the half of it, that’s just the tip of the iceburg!

We will be representing Laredo at two national competitions this April. We are the only team in Texas to be returning to the second annual BEST Nationals Competition in Disney World- Orlando, Florida. We will also be competing in the FIRST Robotics World Championship in St. Louis, Missouri. Our team works very hard year-round and in order to afford the costs and take everyone on the team, we need to raise $100,000 by March 1st of this year.

We are asking for your help Laredo. If you would like to become a sponsor for the ULTIMATE Robotics team, please email us at ultimate922@gmail.com. We can set up a meeting if necessary. You can visit our Facebook page, Ultimate Robotics Team, or our website at http://www.uetmrobotics.com.

Part of the Robotics team demonstration their creativity at the mall

If you do decide to donate to this group to get them to the national competition, let them know you read it on the Que Fregados blog – which isn’t about us being fregados (well, really about me being fregada) but about the surprises we sometimes find in the space around us.

I just think this is such a cool effort. I don’t know any of them but I hope they can go and compete and come back with awards.

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About Que Fregados

Que Fregados is a quirky look at little things that strike us funny in Laredo and the unique Latino culture. Suggestions and comments are welcome. You can also email to quefregados@gmail.com.
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8 Responses to High School Robotics

  1. Eddie says:

    I was tipped off about this post by someone currently on the team. There is a lot of value in the program, most of which I didn’t realize until I entered college. The level of competition is very high, and just receiving an invitation to nationals is difficult. Last year only 12 out of over 800 teams competed in the BEST national tournament. United’s team placed second. That’s second out of over eight hundred.

    It’s great to see growing support like this for the team. Laredo’s Magnet schools, United in particular, don’t receive the credit they deserve. Also glad that now I found this blog.

  2. Juanita says:

    $100K?
    REALLY?
    Are you serious?

    …really?

    • Jose R. perez says:

      If you scrutinize the amount of money that goes into football programs and any sports programs in general in addition to cheerleading and dance programs, $100,000 is pocket change to the amount that athletics programs require.

      We need to invest in these children as they are the future of the community and the country.

  3. Blanca says:

    I agree with Mr. Perez. These kids are actively involved in their academic future. Over 80% of the ULTIMATE Alumni have pursued engineering degrees. The reason they need that much money is because they would like to take 50+ members to one national competition in Florida. The competition is several days long and they need food, lodging and transportation. The World Competition is in Missouri this year and it is also several days long. What a wonderful learning experience these students will obtain. I hope we can get you guys there.

  4. Juanita says:

    I would love to see a calculation of how they came up with 100K and where exactly the money will go to. It kinda seems like they pulled that number out of thin air. Do they have any quotes from bus companies, have they contacted student tour agents about getting group discounts?

    I agree that frivolous money is spent on programs like football, but the football team isn’t asking people to give them a million dollars so they can go to disney world. I never remember a trip in High School costing that much. Seriously, do some calculations and have a plan before you ask the public to dig into their pockets to help you. If you believe it costs 100K to send 50 kids to disney world and St. Louis, then I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you.

    So how much are each of you donating?

    • Vanessa says:

      Here’s how we came up with $100,000:

      St. Louis, Missouri- FIRST World Championship
      **Leaving on bus from Laredo with Tornado Tours is more feasible than flying. I calculated these costs using 60 students and 6 chaperons (10 kids per chaperon is district policy). 4 students per room and 2 chaperons per room (that’s also district policy). The hotel packages are available here: http://www.firstchampionshiphousing.com/Championship/PackagePricing.aspx
      The Holiday Inn is the cheapest compared to its proximity. FIRST World Championship is like the Super Bowl of robotics competitions and robots are required to be shipped (they can weigh up to 120 pounds) so the shipping fee is understandable**

      2 buses x $6000 each
      $10 a meal x 3 meals a day x 5 days = $150 per person
      $724 per room (for 5 nights) x total # of number of rooms
      $4,000 registration fee
      $400 robot shipping
      Total Cost: $39,332

      Orlando, Florida- BEST Nationals
      **For this trip, I kept the same number of students and chaperons. The bus rate is higher because of the distance. I kept the same meal price even though realistically, you need more money to buy food in Disney. All teams competing are required to stay at the All Star Music Resort . Hotel packages are available here: http://www.gettravel.com/bestroboticschampionship/accommodation.shtml **

      2 buses x $7000 each
      $10 a meal x 3 meals a day x 5 days = $150 per person
      $281 per student (for 5 nights)
      $442 per chaperon (for 5 nights)
      $89 park ticket per person
      Total Cost: $49,286

      GRAND Total: $88,618

      So what about the rest? The office supplies and power tools needed throughout the year are costly and we still want to have some money in the budget for next year. We pay for all of our in-state competitions that qualify us to nationals. We’re honored to represent Laredo at competition and wish to continue doing so for years to come.

      Some people and individuals cannot always financially sponsor us but they do invest their time in mentoring and helping us in any way they can. We appreciate that just the same.

      • Que Fregados says:

        Wow – I knew it seemed hefty but not out of line since there are about 80 members. This really helps. If you guys can, set up a paypal account so that those who cannot “sponsor” can at least help with $10, $20 or $50 at a time. Everything can help.

  5. Blanca says:

    Thank you Vanessa. Vanessa is the CEO of ULTIMATE Robotics from the United Engineering and Technology Magnet School. This school is comprised of students from the 4 local UISD high schools (United South, LBJ, United North, and Alexander). I thought it would be a good idea to let Laredo know that when they help out the Robotics team, they are helping out students from the 4 UISD high schools that attend UETM and are part of the Robotics team.

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