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Students demonstrate robots at math, computer science day

April 13, 2013 at 5:03 p.m.
Updated April 12, 2013 at 11:13 p.m.

Calhoun High School students show their peers how a robot they built throws Frisbees during Tuesday's University of Houston-Victoria/Victoria College Math and Computer Science Awareness Day.

MATH AND SCIENCE DAY WINNERS

• MATH

Team Awards

First - Kevin and Melissa Clark, Victoria Area Center for Advanced Learning

Second - Joseph Bednarczyk and Jake Smitherman, Victoria West High School

Third - John Gee, James Hsu, Jessie Sun and Jason Wang, Calhoun High School

Individual Awards

First - Kevin Clark, Victoria Area Center for Advanced Learning

Second - Wenjie Ma, St. Paul High School in Shiner

Third - John Gee, Calhoun High

• COMPUTER SCIENCE

Team Awards

First - John Gee, Jason Wang, James Hsu and Kevin Chang, Calhoun High

Second - Kevin and Melissa Clark, Victoria Area Center for Advanced Learning

Third - Juan Solano, Drew Herndon and Dalton Weaver, Victoria Area Center for Advanced Learning

Individual Awards

First - John Gee, Calhoun High

Second - James Hsu, Calhoun High

Third - Jason Wang, Calhoun High

• GAME SHOW

Ariana Felder, Josh Kayl, Sophia Muzquiz and Chris Saenz, Victoria Area Center for Advanced Learning

Sean Adames, Robert Barrera, David Bengtson and Aaron Zapalac, Victoria Area Center for Advanced Learning

SOURCE: UHV

Students from Calhoun High School in Port Lavaca had a rare opportunity Tuesday to show off their hard work creating a robot that throws Frisbees.

The Calhoun students were some of more than 150 area students from 11 high schools who participated in the University of Houston-Victoria/Victoria College Math and Computer Science Awareness Day.

The event coincided with April's national Math Awareness Month and Robotics Awareness Month. This year's theme is "Mathematics of Sustainability."

It was made possible by a grant from Alcoa Foundation.

The event centered on written math and computer science tests, which were scored individually and as a team.

The top-scoring teams in the math and computer science tests received trophies and certificates. Top-scoring individuals received a laptop, iPad or electrical engineering kit. Each person on a winning game show team won a robotics kit.

It also included two team game show competitions, robot demonstrations, interaction with area professionals and the opportunity for students to meet peers with similar interests.

"We enjoy participating in this event because our students don't get to interact with others who enjoy building robots like they do," said Calhoun High School teacher Jeff Williams. "They had fun showing off their hard work."

Ten area high school students meet each week with Alireza Tavakkoli, a UHV assistant professor and director of the university's digital gaming and simulation program, to learn about robotics and computer programming.

"This is all about the students and for the students," Tavakkoli said. "This year, we reached our maximum capacity of attendees for the event. We hope we can grow it in the future so more students can participate."

Other organizations participating in the exposition included the Victoria school district robotics and engineering programs, Caterpillar, CivilCorp, UHV School of Nursing and Victoria College business and computer programs.

"It's important to combine interests and given abilities to really succeed and be happy in a career," said Kevin Riggs, engineering manager at Alcoa Point Comfort Operations. "Students need to find what they like and what they want to work on every day, and not choose a career on the basis of salary alone."

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