Mickey Leland robotics clubs end year on top, winning national championships 

Mickey Leland Preparatory Academy's middle-school and high-school teams at the SECME VEX nationals with SECME staffer Anthony Bowser. Students (left to right) are Evert Guzman, Brandon Chuor, Danny Medina, Anthony Bowser, Marcellus Jordan, Luis Torres, and Jarmel Brown.

Mickey Leland Preparatory Academy’s middle school and high school teams display their awards at the SECME VEX nationals with SECME staffer Anthony Bowser (center). Students (left to right) are Evert Guzman, Brandon Chuor, Danny Medina, Marcellus Jordan, Luis Torres, and Jarmel Brown.

Mickey Leland College Preparatory Academy’s high-school robotics club won first place at the 40th annual SECME Summer Institute’s VEX nationals in June at Tennessee State University in Nashville, and the middle-school team took second place.

This summer event brings together STEM educators and students for learning, collaboration, and dialog.

SECME stands for Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering, and VEX comes from the verb “to vex,” which means to confound or confuse. VEX robotics is a high-end robotics platform that requires students to design, build, and program robots to perform complex tasks in highly competitive two-team alliances.

The competition, based on the VEX game “Nothing but Net,” was judged on three factors: head-to-head field competition, a team interview, and an engineering notebook. The Leland teams outpaced 16 robotics teams from across the southeastern U.S.

Earlier this year, the Leland Prep high school team won the NSBE National VEX Championship in Boston for the second year in a row. Leland robotics teams also won state VEX and VEX-IQ robotics titles, winning a trip to the Technology Student Association VEX nationals for the second year in a row.

The club also made its third appearance in a row at the VEX World Championships in partnership with Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy, and won First Tech Challenge Judges Award and participated for the first time in the FIRST Robotics Challenge.  Leland’s sixth-grade robotics teams also won top awards in regional Lego robotics.

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