Texas Border Business
By Vicky Brito
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – OCT. 6, 2017 – Harlingen High School triumphed for the second year in a row at the annual U.S. Navy SeaPerch Challenge, held Friday, Oct. 6, at the Harlingen CISD Aquatic Center, as part of UTRGV’s HESTEC Week.
For the competition, students assemble their Remotely Operated Vehicle, or ROV, compete in overcoming underwater obstacles and go through an interview process.
SeaPerch gives students the chance to learn about robotics and the STEM fields, while building an underwater ROV and applying engineering concepts, problem-solving skills and technical applications.
Javier Garcia, director of STEM Community Outreach Programs in the UTRGV Department of Governmental and Community Relations, said the SeaPerch competition is important for building interest in STEM in young people.
“Our U.S. Department of Defense needs talented and highly qualified scientists and engineers,” Garcia said. “As people retire, we need to fill that void with our emerging youth. Technology is constantly evolving. This competition allows the kids to push their STEM knowledge.”
Michael Tenison, coach for the Harlingen High team, said that despite a late start on this challenge, the students worked hard for their victory.
“We only had three weeks to prepare,” he said. “We worked after school every day from 4 to 6 p.m. and practiced at the pool. I am thrilled for these students. They worked really hard and they deserved it.”
Harlingen now will compete at the international SeaPerch Competition in May 2018, also for the second time. The team placed in the top 20 of 65 teams last year. This year, they hope to place in the top 10.
HHS senior Ryan Arnold, club president, is one of the remaining team members from last year’s winning team.
“It feels pretty awesome to have won,” Arnold said. “I wasn’t sure if we were going to get a good score or not, and I was kind of stressed out, but I am excited to go to internationals again, I really want us to do well.”
This year’s second place team was Los Fresnos High School. Third place went to the Science Academy of South Texas in Mercedes.
HESTEC wraps up on Saturday with Community Day on the UTRGV Edinburg Campus from 4-10 p.m.