Kyrene Altadeña Middle School’s robotics teams recently competed in regional and state competitions, bringing home first and fifth place titles.

The team of eighth-graders at the middle school, named the Trackers, took home 1st place in the First Lego League Tournament on Dec. 1 where student teams from around the Valley present their robots and have to complete tasks.

Altadeña’s team of fifth, sixth and seventh-graders, named Easy Incorporated, took home fifth place.

Though both teams advanced to state competitions, neither placed in any titles.

“It’s closest to the real life application of engineering,” said coach Monica Crowder. “This requires such perseverance from the kids.”

Each team plans out and builds their own robot, keeping in mind the tasks it will need to perform. Tasks at competitions include going up stair steps, picking up pills, balancing on tables and others.

“My favorite thing to do is actually completing the challenge after trying it really hard for a while,” said Tracker team member, Leo Crowder.

Leo, who is also Crowder’s son, mentioned he likes the teamwork needed for his robotics club.

“We have to use everyone on the team to do the best we can,” Leo, 13, said.

Programs and clubs like robotics and Lego League are funded by school tax credit donations. These donations, which can be made this year until Dec. 31, help support extra-curricular activities like lego robotics.

“I hope it gives them confidence, that even when things are difficult, you continue to work on something,” Crowder said.

For more information about First Lego League, visit To make a tax credit donation, visit or stop into the district office at 8700 S. Kyrene Road until Dec. 31.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or Follow on Twitter: @_dianamartinez.

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