Boze Builds a Brighter Outlook for Robotics
Recently, there was a robotics tournament at Auburn Valley High School. As you open the doors to the school, you are inundated with the voices of energetic kids, enthusiastic parents, and LEGO® parts — everywhere! When you scan the area, there are well over 100 kids. Small groups stand out in their matching shirts representing their team colors. Yet, you also begin to notice a trend within these teams. Continue walking through the grand lobby outside the auditorium, and you realize the trend is that there aren’t many, or barely any, black or brown faces in this entire space. Then, you spot a small group of kids wearing bright neon pink shirts in the corner of your eye. This incredibly diverse group of kids is focused, practicing their program, running through it diligently. One of the younger kids looks up and smiles, “My team is the Boze Builders! We go inside there and compete soon!” they yell excitedly, pointing towards the closed auditorium doors. This small, yet mighty, group of kids bursting with energy goes into all the details about the work they have been doing all year. These students are members of the First LEGO League at Boze Elementary, a part of our STEMbyTAF School Transformation Model. The program aims to bring access to robotics, engineering, coding, project management, and teamwork to kids at the K – 5th-grade level.
Continue walking through the grand lobby outside the auditorium, and you realize the trend is that there aren’t many, or barely any, black or brown faces in this entire space.
One student stands out in her leadership, Breana. She called the shots, calculated how to reprogram errors, and took note of every detail. She stood alongside her supportive mother, Flor. When interviewed on their feedback about the experience, Flor noted,
“Kids do all this technology stuff on their tablets and phones… they have these skills that aren’t being put to use for a project like this.” When asked about her personal experience, she continues, “My daughter [Breana] loves it, she doesn’t get intimidated or shy anymore. She said she could do this forever and even urged the school principal to add a 6th grade into the school so she would never have to leave!”
Breana is a 5th-grader, and this will be her last year at Boze Elementary before transitioning to her local middle school. Her desire to continue engaging in opportunities like robotics is one of the many reasons why TAF is working to create regions of schools in Tacoma and beyond that implement the STEMbyTAF program. We hope to continue our expansion in Tacoma and other districts to build more K-12th-grade pipelines of students receiving a STEMbyTAF education. The Boze Builders Robotics Team really stands out. They are an incredibly diverse team of eager and curious minds. They scored major points for their precise calculations, and points for empowering young students like Breana.
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