MISSION, Texas – The president and executive director of FIRST in Texas has praised Mission CISD for its commitment to robotics programs.

Jason Arms sent congratulations after learning that Mission’s Veterans Memorial Robotics Engineering team had built the MK3 Iron Patriot robot. Unlike the team’s competitive robots, this one was built with the purpose of connecting with the Mission CISD community.

Jason Arms

“This is proof positive that FIRST works. Mission CISD’s commitment to FIRST programs at all grade level is impressive and shows that partnerships such as this allow our kids a safe space to dream big and create amazing things,” Arms said.

“We are proud of the hard work that Mission CISD and its students are doing and appreciate them being part of the FIRST in Texas family.”

Arms said he agreed 100 percent with Jose L. Sanchez, a robotics mentor for Veterans Memorial High School, when Sanchez said: “If you believe in the students and trust them, they will deliver and come through.”

Student Jordan Hernandez is a VMHS Robotics team member who assisted with the initial development of the robot. “The purpose was to create a robot for us to engage with our community by launching T-shirts at football games, pep rallies, and other school events.” Jordan said. “It’s exciting when people know what you are doing behind the scenes, and they are able to engage in STEM-related activities in a new way.”

Sanchez, the robotics mentor, said he did not know what to expect during the robot’s big debut. “I was surprised. From the time that we arrived at our first football game and started launching t-shirts, the reaction from the crowd was immediate.”

Sanchez said the students wired everything, modified the cannon to the robot, and programmed all the functions. “Ultimately, it’s their work and that’s what makes it more impressive,” he said.

Sanchez said although the outreach canon has been a huge success, it was no easy feat to accomplish. “The first six weeks was a challenge. There were certain things we did not know, but we figured it out,” Sanchez said. “Our success last year has taught me a lot. If you believe in the students and trust them, they will deliver and come through.”

The next time Mission residents see the Iron Patriot in action, they may notice a few modifications, Sanchez said. He said the team plans to mount a second cannon to simultaneously launch two t-shirts at the same time to make the outreach experience more fun for the community. 

Hernandez said the team all shares the same goal this competitive season, to build up their resume to be a legitimate contender for the Impact Award, which is the highest award that is given in FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition). 

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