American Canyon Schools Win Top Honors in Robotics Competition

126 NVUSD Students on 28 Teams Compete in Annual UC Davis RoboPlay Event

Napa Valley Register, Contributed story
Published on June 7, 2019

For the seventh year in a row, Napa Valley Unified School District students traveled to UC Davis to participate in its annual robotics competition — RoboPlay 2019.

For the sixth year in a row, American Canyon Middle and American Canyon High schools earned top honors, taking 17 statewide awards, including one first-place award and another 8 regional awards, including three first-place regional awards.

Members of the American Canyon Middle Schools 6th grade all girl team, The Anti-Social Robotics Group, from left, Irene Padilla and Simran Sandhu

Student Interest and Participation in Robotics Grows Exponentially

Each year, the number of teams and schools attending from NVUSD has increased. This year, 126 students on 28 teams from American Canyon Middle School, American Canyon High School, Canyon Oaks Elementary, Redwood Middle School, Vintage High School, and Valley Oak High School competed.

While they didn’t win any awards, students new to robotics from Valley Oak Continuation High School, Vintage High School, and Redwood Middle School worked hard to complete the challenging robotics tasks, with one team from Redwood almost placing in the top tier in their division.

Members of American Canyons 5th/6th grade team, The Snacks, are from left, Zachary Zeng, Mason Brito, Calix Mintalar, and Jason Apuyan. They attend Canyon Oaks Elementary and American Canyon Middle School.

“The number of students participating in this competition has grown every year and their performance has improved every year, too,” said Mary Ann Valles, assistant superintendent for Instructional Services of the Napa Valley Unified School District. “This competition gives students the chance to display their problem solving, math, and coding skills timed against the clock. It isn’t easy and it takes grit. In particular, the American Canyon schools have really risen to the challenge and they have positioned NVUSD as one of the top robotics districts in the state. ”

The computers, robots and teacher training were all sponsored by NapaLearns, which has invested more than $250,000 into the program. NapaLearns also underwrites the costs for the students to attend the competition.

Trinchero Family Estates donated $1 million last year to support the robotics program for four years.

“Through this robotics program, I have won several awards at the Roboplay C-STEM competitions, been on teams that ranked number one in the state and region, and have discovered the major I am planning to pursue in college,” said Justin Chang, a senior at American Canyon High School.

“This is the second year of a three-year commitment to put the C-STEM curriculum into Napa Valley Unified School District schools,” said Peg Maddocks, executive director of NapaLearns. “Many jobs depend on computers, programming, perseverance, and teamwork. These students will need those skills in the future and they will be prepared.”

The complete list of awards won by American Canyon schools

American Canyon Middle School

Statewide Middle School Award of Achievement

● Kiana Leigh Garcia

Statewide MS Girl’s Leadership Award

● Aminah Hilliard

Statewide Junior Division RoboPlay Video Winners

● Best Storytelling – Botman: The Dark Bot Returns

● Best Choreography – Dancing Queen

● Most Interesting Task – World of Bots

Regional Division C (7th/8th Grade) RoboPlay Robotics

● 1st Place Regional – PUG BOTS

● 2nd Place Statewide – PUG BOTS

● 3rd Place Regional –

Regional RoboPlay Robotics MS Perseverance Award


American Canyon High School

Statewide High School Award of Excellence

● Colin Velicaria

Statewide High School C-STEM Scholarship

● Katrina Cole

● Malaysia Hilliard

Statewide HS Girl’s Leadership Award

● Taylor Buono

Statewide Senior Division RoboPlay Video Winners

● Best Theme: Barobo 500

● Best Choreography: Walking Around the Christmas Tree

● Best Computational Thinking: Dreams of No

Regional Division A (Math 3+) RoboPlay Robotics

● 1st Place Regional – Hui Xiong, Bu Yao Shuo

● 3rd Place Statewide – Hui Xiong, Bu Yao Shuo

Statewide Division B (Math 1-2) RoboPlay Robotics

● 1st Place Regional – Team Alpha

● 1st Place Statewide – Team Alpha

● 2nd Place Regional – Ms. Williams Rocks!

● 3rd Place Statewide – Ms. Williams Rocks!

● 3rd Place Regional–Pro-Grammers

Regional RoboPlay Robotics HS Spirit Award

● Vu – Girls

Regional RoboPlay Robotics HS Teamwork Award