Middle School Migrant Students, Migrant Education Program (MEP) Staff
In collaboration with one of our district’s after-school program, five middle school migrant students from the MEP at the Educational Service Unit 7 in Nebraska participated in the FIRST LEGO League competition. They met after school three times a week beginning in September. On January 28th, our team competed in one of the Nebraska Regional Qualifier. The competition consisted of three parts: Core Values, Project Challenge, and the Robot Game round.
While our team did not advance to the state competition, other accomplishments were acknowledged!
In the process of working with our students, we learned that this opportunity presented a few "firsts" for them. This was the first time each of the 5 students had participated in a team. The program's Core Values emphasized discovery, teamwork, and good sportsmanship, which our students were able to experience on the team. While working on the Project Challenge, the local animal shelter provided information to our students and brought along some furry friends! We learned that three out of the five students had never held a dog before. The competition was another "first" for our students. The Core Values and Project Challenge required speaking in front of judges. Not only was this the first time our students presented to an audience, but they also competed in front of a packed gym in the Robot Game round!
Out of 27 teams competing, our team was recognized with the Judges' Award, awarded to the team who exemplifies the Core Values of the program. It was such a proud moment when our team was recognized for working though their differences, culture, and language. Our team was also the most diverse of the competition with all five students coming from different countries; Congo, Guatemala, Mexico, Somalia, and Sudan. All five members of our team are English Language Learners, and amongst them all, speak eight different languages.
This was an opportunity these students would not have otherwise experienced were it not for the Migrant Education Program. While we will not have all five returning to the team next year, the ones who are eligible are eager to start!
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