Wednesday, March 30, 2005

cielo de octubre

Four 'undocumented' (i.e. 'illegal alien') high school kids from Phoenix entered the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center's Remotely Operated Vehicle Competition, hoping to just not suck. The $800 ROV they built out of PVC pipe and waterproofed with tampons was competing against $11000 corporate funded ROVs from schools like MIT. When they arrived at the competition and brought out their ROV, the other teams laughed.

"Can we go to Hooters if we win?" Lorenzo asked.

No one was laughing a few hours later when the team swept the top three awards plus an impromptu special achievement award the judges created on the spot to honor their work.

They had just won two of the most important awards. All that was left was the grand prize. Cristian quickly calculated the probability of winning but couldn't believe what he was coming up with. Ledge leaned across the table and grabbed Lorenzo's shirt. "Lorenzo, if what I think is about to happen does happen, I do not, under any circumstances, want to hear you say the word 'Hooters' onstage."

"And the overall winner for the Marine Technology ROV championship," Merrill continued, looking up at the crowd, "goes to Carl Hayden High School of Phoenix, Arizona!"

Lorenzo threw his arms into the air, looked at Ledge, and silently mouthed the word "Hooters."

These guys are awesome. They are also going to spend the rest of their lives doing menial labor if something doesn't change, because they they're not just underprivileged, they are also officially 'out-of-state' students anywhere they go in the US, effectively doubling a tuition that was already out of reach. Hopefully their experience at the ROV contest will bring them some good will. If you've got any to spare, their school district has set up a scholarship fund for the team.