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Hanger 84 Robotics advancing to district championships

Xavier Fresquez addresses the Roswell Independent School District’s school board at the March 19 meeting. Pictured, from left, are Joshua Lopez, Chad Cole, Carmen Lucero, Eric Ramirez, Michelle Huckabee, Cassie Quezada and Joselyne Gadsden. (Alison Penn Photo)

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Editor’s note: “Hanger 84” is a unique spelling for the robotics team that was adopted after their first robot had a hanging component. 

At a special meeting, the Roswell Independent School District board of education voted unanimously to support Hanger 84 Robotics Team 7271 to participate in the next round of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition in Austin, Texas, today through Friday, April 3-6.

The board approved two action items allowing students from Early College High School (ECHS) and University High School (UHS) in Hanger 84 to travel out of state and to assist with funding for the transportation portion.

Superintendent Dr. Ann Lynn McIlroy recommended approval of the funding and for the team to attend the field trip. McIlroy clarified the district would be contributing less than $500 to supplement the transportation expenses.

After the unanimous vote, Andrea Batista, a FIRST robotics mentor and a teacher at UHS, said the team would be leaving for Austin at 4 a.m. on Wednesday.

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Board members President Alan Gedde, Vice President Ruben Sanchez and Mona Kirk were present in person, while members James Edwards and Secretary Kathleen Pittman were present at the less-than-nine-minute special meeting on Tuesday afternoon. The meeting ended with a round of applause from board members, Hanger 84 students and others in attendance.

On March 19, Hanger 84, along with their robot named Clunker, presented to the board that they placed seventh out of 27 teams in El Paso from March 1-2, 10th out of 30 teams in Amarillo from March 7-9 and sixth out of the 192 teams in New Mexico and Texas. The board expressed the desire to hold a special meeting to allow the team to attend the competition after RISD’s spring break from March 25-30 ended.

In about two weeks, Batista reported that the team raised over $13,100 for the competition. McIlroy clarified that there were no donations over $1,000 and the board removed an item from the agenda pertaining to donations over $1,000.

At the March meeting, Batista said the team needed approximately $12,000 total — broken down to $4,000 for registration fees, $4,000 for hotel stay, $3,000 for bus transportation and $1,000 for meals.

“Thank you to all our sponsors because they really helped us,” Samma Ali, a Hanger 84 business team member, said.

Heraclio Vazquez, an ECHS student, is part of Hanger 84’s design and build team and said he plans to be a diesel and aviation mechanic in the future.

“Well, in my opinion, I’m really happy ‘cause we get to go out of town and we get to compete with new people, and meet new people, and see different robots,” Vazquez said. “To me personally, this is going to be a major step in my life — good to see colleges, meet new people, talk to new people and seeing robots — at just geek out!”

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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