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Montebello MESA Club earns first and third at nationals

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  • Linda Jeffries/Alhambra Elementary School District

Montebello Students

WHO: Alhambra Elementary School District’s MESA Team, from Montebello School, earns a first place and a third place in the 2014 MESA National Engineering Design Competition

WHAT: Join Alhambra School District as we welcome home our national champions at the airport this afternoon at 2 p.m.

WHEN: June 23, 2014 at 2 p.m.

WHERE: Sky Harbor Airport, Terminal 4, US Airways Flight #634 – Departs Portland, Oregon at 11:25 a.m. and arrives in Phoenix at 2 p.m.

Montebello MESA Club earns first and third at nationals MontebelloSchoolMESAClubHP

Montebello MESA Club earned first and third at the 2014 Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement USA National Competition with their prosthetic arm design. (left to right: Carlos Soto, William Fazille, Suny Mendez and Joselin Cruz)

WHY: The Alhambra Elementary School District is pleased to announce the MESA (Math, Engineering, and Science Achievement) Team from Montebello School, lead by MESA advisor Kelby Milgrim, took home two awards this weekend at the MESA National Challenge in Portland, Oregon.

The national challenge this year was to design, engineer, and operate a low-cost, environmentally sustainable, easy-to-operate prosthetic arm that could perform a variety of real life tasks (i.e. picking up everyday items and placing them in a box, tossing items into a bucket).

Alhambra’s Montebello MESA Team earned first place in the country in the “Design Efficiency” category! Design efficiency is the ratio of design performance to design mass. Points are awarded for different performance tasks (ball toss, object relocation) then those numbers are divided by the mass (or weight) of the arm; and Montebello’s prosthetic arm out-performed, and weighed almost nothing, compared to other teams submissions from across the country!

In addition, Alhambra’s Montebello MESA Team earned a third place award in the “Technical Paper” category. The technical paper offered a close examination of the engineering design process, especially as it related to all the major design choices and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) concepts. The technical paper had many components, including an abstract, discussion, conclusion, bibliography, and an appendix.

According to Superintendent Dr. Karen Williams, “The Alhambra team defied all odds and showcased that all children can achieve their dreams if they work hard. I believe that every child is entitled to a high-quality education and an opportunity to live the American Dream, and our MESA team worked hard, spent their summer vacation preparing for the competition, and demonstrated how dreams really do come to reality!”

Montebello School serves more than 1,400 students in kindergarten through eighth grade in Phoenix. Ninety-eight percent of students receive free or reduced price food services and 30 percent of students are non-English speaking.

According to Williams, “This was a first in a lifetime opportunity for the Alhambra students, and they demonstrated their ability to design, write, compete, and win top rankings in a national competition, and I am most proud of their accomplishments.”

Alhambra School District would like to express our tremendous appreciation to President and CEO Brian Mueller from Grand Canyon University, for sponsoring the Alhambra MESA Team’s trip to Portland, Oregon.

According to Dr. Williams, “I extend a special thanks to the entire Grand Canyon University team for sponsoring our children, which enabled them to compete nationally and experience learning with other students from across the nation. Grand Canyon University’s commitment to enriching the community is a wise investment, and will change lives.”

BACKGROUND: The Alhambra MESA team is composed of three eighth grade students, Joselin Cruz, William Fazille, and Suny Mendez, as well as one seventh grader, Carlos Soto from Montebello School. Alhambra’s Montebello Team earned the spot to attend the national competition after winning first place in Arizona’s MESA competition held this spring at Arizona State University.

QUOTES: Montebello Principal, Nicole Durazo said, “I am so incredibly proud of the commitment, dedication, and determination our kids demonstrated throughout the entire MESA competition. It just goes to show what belief in ones self can accomplish. They were already champions in my book – the wins are just icing on the cake. For our students to achieve these amazing results shows that no matter what the challenge – Alhambra students can be victorious. A special congratulations to Mr. Kelby Milgrim who, from the start, believed in our students so they could believe in themselves. Thank you Mr. Milgrim for sharing your passion, commitment and dedication with our students. You are truly a blessing to the Alhambra community and the teaching profession.”

Kelby Milgrim, Montebello School teacher and MESA Advisor humbly quoted Harry S. Truman, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” He also stated, “I am so proud of these children. Our accomplishment is a team effort and everyone is a winner!”

Suny Mendez, 13, recently promoted from eighth grade. Suny wants to be a robotics engineer or software engineer. “I love engineering. It is fun. You get to build stuff, you get to take it apart, and you get to understand how things work.”

Carlos Soto, 13, going in to eighth grade. Carlos wants to be a computer engineer. “MESA provides opportunities for the future. It will help me get in to ASU.”

Joselin Cruz, 14, recently promoted from eighth grade. Joselin wants to be a pediatrician. “MESA has taught us that not everything has to be complicated if you put your mind to it.”

William Fazille, 14, recently promoted from eighth grade. William would like to be an engineer and go to M.I.T.. “I like how we work together to solve problems. I usually like to work alone, so this helped me learn how to listen to other views and opinions. I realized that my way is not the only way.”