Earlier this year, a team of students from the Oñate High School (OHS) Technology Student Association (TSA) designed, built and operated an animatronic gila monster— nicknamed “Jorge”— that earned them first place in the animatronics category at the State TSA competition. The three-person team, composed of OHS Sophomores Aron Lopez and Sebastian Evans and Senior Patrick Hereford, will now go on to compete in the national TSA competition, June 22 to 26 in Atlanta, GA.

OHS Animatronics Team

From left to right: Jorge the Gila Monster, OHS Sophomore Aaron Lopez, OHS Senior Patrick Hereford, and OHs Sophomore Sebastian Evans.

The animatronics category of the competition required student-led teams to demonstrate knowledge of mechanical and control systems by designing, fabricating, and controlling an animatronics device that will communicate, entertain, inform, demonstrate and/or illustrate a topic, idea, subject, or concept. In addition, the robot was required to be accompanied by sound, lights, and a surrounding environment.

Based on this year’s competition theme, all of the robots in the competition category were also required to be zoo or aquatic animals. According to OHS officials, a total of 14 students from the OHS Media and Engineering programs competed in a variety of events at the state TSA competition.

The TSA is a national student organization devoted exclusively to the needs of students engaged in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Open to students enrolled in or who have completed technology education courses, TSA’s membership includes over 200,000 middle and high school students in approximately 2,000 schools spanning 49 states, according to the TSA website.

-LCPS Communications Coordinator Paul Dahlgren, pdahlgren@lcps.net, (575) 527-5808