West's Team Onyx
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Becky Chan
2019 Robotics Competition teams

My name is Becky Chan and I am the Dean of Instruction at YES Prep West. I got involved in robotics last school year and this is my second year as the robotics coach. Back in September, we began our robotics club and have met every Monday and Thursday after school for an hour. Two of our most dedicated club members are Carlos Segura, ninth-grader, and Abraham Zepeta, sixth-grader. This is their first year in robotics and together they formed Team Onyx. Carlos and Abraham have shown up for every meeting and were the first to complete their robot, a full month in advance, allowing them the opportunity to practice for a month before the competition.

YES Prep’s ACE (Afterschool Centers on Education) program hosted its annual Robotics Competition in November and Team Onyx dominated since the first round. Every round had different challenges but the basic rules were the same: Roll the dice and place the dice in their corresponding place. For example, the robot would grab a dice, roll it and if the number was “3” they had to place it in the 3-point score box. All of this had to be done under four minutes. The team with the most points won. Team Onyx rolled all of the dice and placed them in their corresponding box, earning all the points possible, and with two minutes left in the game. The rest of the rounds were also well played with little mistakes.

At one point in the competition, the robot battery was low, right in the middle of the game but Abraham quickly ran to replace the old battery and continued the round, and still earned the majority of the points. I am proud that a small setback did not discourage them but, instead, they had a solutions-oriented mentality and continued to give it their best. All of our students were excited and left inspired to continue to work on their robot-building skills. They are now thinking outside the box by modifying their robots.

Robotics is a fun and engaging club where students develop a wide range of skills. Students have to build their robot from tiny Lego pieces and must learn to program and drive their robot. They also develop their social skills by communicating and supporting each other. As for Team Onyx, they are dedicated and motivated. Abraham and Carlos did not know each other at the beginning, having been assigned randomly to a team, but they were both willing to work together and learn from each other. They are both excellent students!

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Reem Semaan, Principal
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West

Previously, Reem Semaan worked as the Director of Student Support at YES Prep Southside. 

She also served as a Biology Instructor, Grade Level Chair, Dean of Students, and Dean of Instruction at YES Prep Southwest for eight years.

Reem is from North Carolina and has a B.S. in Biology from UNC-Chapel Hill.

She realized her love for education when she joined Teach For America in 2008 after attending a high school that was a small representation of the educational inequities that exist all over the country.

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