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Veterans Memorial Engineering Team qualifies for SeaPerch International Challenge

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MISSION – The Veterans Memorial High School (VMHS) Patriot Engineering Team is diving into a unique competition after qualifying for the 2021 SeaPerch International Challenge for the second time in their campus history.

The VMHS Engineering Team originally qualified for the international challenge following the 2020 regional competition, but was unable to attend due to the cancellation of school events nationwide as a result of the pandemic. Because of this, the Patriot Engineering Team automatically qualified for this year’s SeaPerch International Challenge.

The team consists of Gabriel Sanchez, Jaime Sanchez, Jaime Ceja, Brandon Molina, Patrick Gonzalez, Micah Sanchez and Diego Huerta and is under the direction of VMHS STEM instructor Jose Sanchez. 

“As their coach, I am extremely proud of this team’s accomplishment,” Sanchez said. “Despite the challenges that they are facing today, our students are excited and motivated to be part of this event. This year has given our students the opportunity to be innovative and resourceful and I am happy with the growth we’ve seen in many of our students.”

Every year, the SeaPerch challenge adopts a new theme, along with a new set of tasks that take place through various competitions. On land, teams are able to show off their engineering skills through technical papers and presentations. There’s also an underwater component, in which students are able to navigate their SeaPerch in a pool through a series of obstacles that tests maneuverability, control and utility. A SeaPerch is a remotely operated vehicle, or ROV.

Because it will take place virtually this year, students will submit a recording of their ROV performance in an underwater challenge course called Waterway Cleanup. As part of this year’s theme, students were asked to assist with cleanup efforts in a particularly polluted waterway. The students then worked to disarm and secure underwater mines, remove trash floating on the water’s surface and dispose of submerged waste in an underwater vault.

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For Patriot Engineering Team Captain Gabriel Sanchez, this competition is an opportunity for them to work on their problem solving skills and enhance their STEM knowledge through real-world experience. 

“I am very thankful we can compete this year despite the current pandemic,” Sanchez said. “I enjoy SeaPerch because it exposes underwater robotics to a lot of people and teaches us potential uses it can have in the real world.”

The challenge will take place virtually on June 4-5, 2021. Congratulations to the students for advancing, and best of luck to them this summer! 

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