A team of two students from Randall Pepper Elementary School in Fontana has made history by qualifying for the highly anticipated Friendship Invitation Tournament of the World Robot Olympics (WRO) 2023. Keilani Aquino and Anthony Diaz-Flores, members of the school’s WRO Robotics Club, emerged victorious at the WRO U.S. Open held on June 3rd in Upland. Their outstanding performance among over 100 participating teams ensured them a spot in the international tournament, which will take place in Odense, Denmark, from September 21st to 24th.
Under the guidance of dedicated mentors, these third-grade students learned the ins and outs of robot construction and programming during a series of club meetings held on Saturdays throughout the school year. This achievement is a testament to their hard work, knowledge, and exceptional teamwork. Theresa Gomez, the principal of Randall Pepper Elementary School, expressed her immense pride in the Thunder Bots, recognizing their accomplishment as a brilliant example of what determination and effort can achieve.
This is not the first time that robotics students from Randall Pepper have showcased their talents on the global stage. In 2019, a team of five students from the same school participated in the WRO tournament in Aarhus, Denmark. Collaborating with students from Germany and Nigeria, they successfully completed a challenging robotics task and developed a touching slogan: “3 Countries, 3 Teams, 1 Friendship.” Their outstanding performance was recognized with the International Friendship Award, a great honor bestowed by the WRO judges.
The robotics program at Randall Pepper Elementary School was initiated in 2019 by Annette Beasley, a former principal who now serves as the Executive Director of Elementary Schools. Beasley accompanied the school’s inaugural robotics team to Denmark and shared her enthusiasm for the program’s growth over the years. She emphasized the importance of involving students from an early age to cultivate their curiosity and prepare them for future academic challenges.
The WRO Robotics Club is part of the school’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) curriculum, catering to second and third-grade students. Additionally, the school offers the SumoBot Club for fourth and fifth-grade students, as well as “STEAM-tastic Wednesdays,” where teachers provide interactive lessons on programming and earth sciences.
Fontana’s Randall Pepper Elementary School is thrilled to have its students representing not only the school but also the entire Fontana community on an international level. This incredible achievement is a testament to the dedication of the students, teachers, and involved parents, as well as the strong emphasis on STEM education within the Fontana Unified School District.
– Fontana Unified School District