Students at Queens charter school take home top honors in NY virtual robotics competition


JAMAICA, Queens — For many schools, making the switch to online learning during the pandemic came with challenges. 

But that wasn’t the case for students at Growing Up Green Charter School 2 in Jamaica, Queens.

The Title I inner-city public elementary and middle school have proven themselves as cyber-champs.
There were five teams within the school that competed in a New York State virtual robotics competition last month; all finished in the top 13. However, the group of fifth and six graders we spoke with took home top honors Spring 2021 CoderZ League Tournament.

Sofia Khan, Daeshell Thompson, Xavier Adames, Abrahan Mendoza Tzoc, and Randiel Castillo Abreu are also known as Galaxy Coders at Growing Up Green Charter School II. They used code and mathematics to program a cyber robot and solve the mission in their games, Robo Golf and Disco Blocks. 

When it came to the secret sauce needed for taking home the top prize, Principal Andrew Wintner says it’s all about dedication. 

“We cannot be more proud of the students that participated in this. I think the amount of hours that they put into this because they love what they were doing. We believe in a curriculum that is representative of our students and gives our students a voice to feel seen and heard within the curriculums, Wintner tells PIX11 News.

Each student was given a chrome book and hotspots if needed for WIFI connection. Yuvraj Verma guided these 5th and 6th graders throughout the competition. He says despite some challenges, these students were able to accomplish them through teamwork.

“Seeing their motivation and their perseverance very invigorating and super refreshing especially being in such a depressing time period of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Verma.

The Spring 2021 CoderZ League Tournament ran from March 1 to 31, 2021 and the winners were announced on April 4, 2021. NYS teams were from schools in Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan, Queens, Huntington, Troy and Oneida.

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