Robotics represents in South America

The 6 members of Team Spyder all shared a nervous look, ready to board their final flight. They stepped into the cold tunnel of the Panama City airport, soon to be en route to Asuncion, Paraguay. Their mission was to educate kids in Paraguay and Ecuador about STEM and robotics.

Their first destination over Thanksgiving break was the American School of Asuncion(ASA). They would run the school’s 4th annual First Tech Challenge (FTC) competition. To prepare, Titans helped train the ASA students in STEM practices. 

After the competition at ASA, they did some sightseeing on the way to Quito, Ecuador. There, they trained students and teachers at the Unidad de Innovacion Tecnologica (UDLA) on robotics, and 40 teachers from 20 different schools attended.

The whole trip was overseen by Rodger Dohm, Poway’s robotics advisor. He facilitated the project and had a great time along the way. “It was amazing, I mean it really was,” Dohm said .

Sophomore Eriko Kubota-Valme attended the trip and had a great time, especially liking the FTC competition. According to Kubota-Valme, language barriers were never an issue, as there were many bilingual people who could translate. Their favorite part of the trip was the ASA in Paraguay, because “a lot of the kids are really cultured, and it’s a really diverse place” Kubota-Valme said.

Junior Aaron Ammar, felt he truly got to connect with his team. “We bonded through making jokes all the time, laughing together. It was just a really good experience,” Ammar said. He said he would absolutely do it again given the chance, a sentiment shared by most of the team.

One student did get the opportunity to do it again, junior Reza Bagheri. He also went to last month’s competition in Geneva. He felt that while both were fun, it was a more personal experience in South America.

Team Spyder looks forward to the next one in Canada during finals week.