Weekly roundup: Costa Mesa students’ football launcher scores big, Laguna Beach secondary students return, and more

Three juniors from Costa Mesa High School earned first place in a STEM competition that tasked them with coding, building and programing a robotic football launcher.

Students across Orange and Los Angeles county high schools participated in the challenge, which emphasized engineering and design as part of the Los Angeles Chargers’ STEM on the Sidelines program. The goal was to create a device capable of successfully passing a small football to its intended receiver, with entries judged on their speed and accuracy.

Students in Chargers shirtsThe Costa Mesa team known as the Mesa Angels included Engineering Pathway and STEM club members Lizbeth Gama, Sophia Catania Orozco and Lucero Islas Aguirre.

“I am proud of Mesa’s Angels,” engineering teacher Racine Cross said. “Their hard work and dedication to successfully submitting a high-quality project during these challenging times, while working within COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines, is admirable and worth recognition.”

The local students leveraged their knowledge of 3D printing and laser-cutting to fabricate their all-star football-launching prototype. They even programmed VEX robots to represent wide receivers and coded passing routes for them.

The competition judges were reportedly impressed that the CMHS team embedded innovation, production value, creativity and feedback into their design process.

If you want to see the winning robo-quarterback in action, check out the Mesa’s Angels six-minute project video.

And here are some of the other stories we’ve been following this week:

  • With OC back in the red tier, hundreds of students returned to Laguna Beach High and Thurston Middle schools this week. One local high schooler told the Laguna Beach Independent that it felt strange to wake up to an alarm, get dressed and drive to the campus after a year of distance learning.
  • What started as a weekly game of “Go Fish” with grandma turned into a charitable business for a pair of enterprising Olinda Elementary School siblings who are now teaching other children their native language of Hindi.
  • Anaheim Elementary students in kindergarten through grade six spent two weeks “upcycling” unsellable guitars into everything from flowerpots and shelves to works of art. The instruments, which were donated by Yamaha, were recently displayed at a gallery in Long Beach.
  • Segerstrom High’s football team was forced to cancel its season-opener against Laguna Beach High, as well as a game the following week, after a player tested positive for COVID-19, the Register reported.
  • Esperanza High School in the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District has recovered more than $1.5 million that was embezzled by a former finance clerk. The money will be used for clubs, athletic programs, discounts for event tickets, and upgrades to the gym, library and theater.
  • Following four years of debate, four drafts and 100,000 public comments, the California Board of Education on Thursday approved a model ethnic studies curriculum designed to will teach the histories, struggles and contributions of Asian, Black, Latino and Native Americans.
  • A year after Santa Ana Unified began providing free, nutritious food to local children impacted by campus closures, the district has reached a noteworthy milestone: Its staff has now served more than 5 million meals.

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates and following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.