MISSION, RGV – Students and engineering teachers gave up their Memorial Day holiday to teach robotics to elementary school kids.

The high school students are part of the Patriot Engineering FIRST Tech Challenge team at Mission CISD’s Veterans Memorial High School.

The two coaches that organized the event were Veronica Burgoa and Roy Villeneauva.

Trung Nguyen, plant manager for Royal Technologies in Mission praised the students and coaches. Nguyen was recently named FIRST RGV’s Mentor of the Year.

“I think it is great that the students and teachers took time off from their day off to invest some time into STEM education,” Nguyen said.

“It surprised me that they were investing their own time on their day off to promote STEM education in the Valley. Hats off to Mission CISD.”

Asked why robotics in general and FIRST RGV in particular are important to the Valley, Nguyen said:

“They are very important. It is like farming. They are planting seeds so that we can harvest something really big in the future. These students are our talent pipeline of the future. We will be a far more attractive place to manufacturing firms and investors as these students grow up and enter the workforce.”

FIRST RGV is an educational non-profit established to specifically support educators in the Rio Grande Valley for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).