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Supporting Rural Robotics Teams in Texas


Celebrating Collaboration and “Coopertition” in our Texas FIRST Community!

We are thrilled to announce an inspiring event within our Texas robotics community. Today, McAllen High School, renowned for its award-winning FIRST Tech Challenge teams, hosted an enlightening session for new robotics coaches and team members from the rural communities of Rio Grande ISD and San Isidro ISD. These new 15 robotics teams are being funded through funding from the Texas Workforce Commission and Region One ESC’s Gear Up Program, in mostly rural communities in South Texas.

A Meeting Ground for Aspiring Minds

This event served as a fantastic opportunity for the new coaches and students to learn about the FIRST Tech Challenge robotics program, best practices for success, proven safety protocols, and strategies that have made McAllen ISD’s FIRST Tech Challenge teams a benchmark of excellence in their more than 8 years with FIRST.

“FIRST is so much more than robots, in reality, looking around THIS IS WHAT FIRST IS ABOUT” said Diana Peña, Career Technical Education Coordinator for McAllen ISD. “Providing opportunities for students to build other students by demonstrating Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition through action is what McAllen ISD CTE is about” Peña added.

Strengthening the Texas FIRST Ecosystem

As we strive to continue to tear down barriers of access to our programs and to inspire young minds, events like this hold immeasurable value. They create avenues for knowledge exchange and mutual growth, fostering a stronger community of collaboration and “Coopertition” among our school districts and the larger FIRST community in Texas.

“It warms my heart seeing these types of events happening to encourage rural teams, especially in rural underserved communities happen organically. McAllen High School has been an Inspire Award winner before and this just reaffirms why.” said Jason Arms, Executive Director of FIRST in Texas. “This also reinforces – We Build Stronger Together in Texas” Arms added.

These teams received specialized training in the FIRST Tech Challenge program last week at Region One ESC by one of our new trainers that has years of experience in using our programs and being a career educator in Texas. This unique opportunity afforded the coaches / educators with unique insight in how to align the skills the students will learn while using the program with Texas Education Administration standards.

Looking Ahead

We look forward to more such collaborative initiatives from teams all across our great state and are confident that they will continue to enrich the educational landscape for our K-12 students involved in robotics.


Thank you to McAllen ISD for planning this event and to the teams that took time to learn more. We welcome our new FIRST Tech Challenge teams from Rio Grande ISD and San Isdro ISD. We will continue to support our educators commitment to shaping the future using FIRST robotics in Texas education. Here’s to more shared successes and breakthroughs!

Gear Up Note:  The 15 new FIRST Tech Challenge teams consist of only freshmen in high school. They will compete for four years in FIRST Tech Challenge as a cohort and their successes will be measured as a managed program. The Gear Up team cohort is including schools from: Brooks County ISD, Brownsville ISD, Donna ISD, La Joya ISD, Lyford ISD, McAllen ISD, Mission CISD, Rio Grande ISD, San Isidro ISD, San Perlita ISD, Sharyland ISD, Valley View ISD and Webb CISD.

We appreciate Dr King’s leadership at Region One ESC for making this opportunity available.

Inspiring young minds, one robot at a time.