From the daily archives: Friday, December 18, 2009

By Jorge Villalobos
Event_3The Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) had its 2nd Annual Robotic Competition at the Central Union High School this past Saturday.   MESA who has been in the Imperial Valley for the past seven years strives to make science and math fun.  “We have a lot of competitions thru ought the year, this is the second year we do robots,” states Jeanette Espino, MESA Program Director. 
“Its been amazing, we have over 500 students registered” says Espino. Espino says that they have expanded to 16 schools throughout the Valley, which has gone up since 9 from last year.   According to Espino, each school that is a part of the MESA program has an advisor who is also a teacher; they are instructed and familiarized with building the robots so that they may pass that on to their own students.
“The objective was to see which robot could basically take the other robot out of the ring, or disable it in some matter,” explained Espino.  Espino then said that they had eight different matches, each match that was won awarded the team two points. The top three teams would then battle it out for first, second and third place.
This year Kennedy Middle School dominated the top spots by winning first and third place.  Guadalupe Gonzales, MESA advisor, lead several teams to the competition.  “We started working with the robots since September, so it takes awhile because the students go through different designs,” states Gonzales. Gonzales’ team who last year won first and second places in the Valley had also taken first and second in regionals have a reputation for being a strong contender.
“Its an excellent program, it provides them to really understand about programming,” states Gonzales who recommends MESA to any students aspiring in engineering.  “It’s an excellent opportunity for them to already start looking into the future to see what they wanna get into.”
“I’m asking for everybody’s supports we’re looking at a tough economic year again, they actually tried to cancel our program last year,” stated Espino.  “I know that it is very well liked by the schools so just more support from the administrators and parents.”


asthmaBy Jorge Villalobos
This past Saturday,  the Plaza de Cultura building at the Imperial Valley Expo campgrounds hosted the Asthma Wellness Day event.  The event was focused to inform people of Asthma and other respiratory illnesses that come with Asthma.  It provided several stations to give people a hands-on approach method of learning about Asthma. Through art and physical activities, kids were able to join in, have fun and learn, all at once.
Cynthia Felix, respiratory therapist and a certified asthma educator with the El Centro Regional Medical Center was head of the Asthma Wellness day event.  “It’s a day for families with asthmatics parents, caregivers to come learn more about asthma, how to take care of their family, avoid triggers,” explained Felix. �
“This is actually a part of a grant that the Health Department received, we did three different events, this is the last event that we’re putting on,” states Felix. Felix says that this event has taken a couple of months of preparation. She stated that the first event they had was about becoming an Asthma Educator which was aimed at nurses and other respiratory therapists.  The second event was called “Pace Training,” it was training for doctors which focused more on pace equipment.
Felix says that a lot of different community centers such as the El Centro Regional Medical Center, Pioneers  Memorial Hospital, Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo  came together to form a Asthma Initiative. “The Asthma Initiative was actually started a few years  back, it kinda lost momentum for a few years and last year we kinda wanted to come together again to start doing some more things for the community,” states Felix.
“There is a pretty big Asthma problem in the Imperial Valley, our biggest population with asthmatics are probably from the kids, from I’d say 5 to 18 age range,” explained Felix. ” I think the more they know about Asthma  and the Asthma symptoms I think it’s important to know what triggers the Asthma.”  Felix says that it’s important to know what their children’s triggers are so that parents can do what they can to avoid those triggers. She also believes that parents should know how their asthmatic children’s medication works and to just keep up to date on what’s new with Asthma.
Though the Asthma Wellness Day Event is over, she recommends that anyone looking for more information contact any respiratory therapist, the Imperial Valley Child Asthma program and any of the Valley’s Hospitals.


Christmas Photo 104From Sara Hilfiker
Betty Predmore of Miss Betty’s preschool was awarded this year’s Autism Angel from the Autism Support of Imperial County Organization.

She was nominated for her outstanding work and dedication to Steven Hilfiker as his preschool teacher and to all other children with or without disabilities.

 Miss Betty has an established preschool in Holtville and cares for children 1 to 5 years old.  She provides preschool learning to children in a loving Christian environment.  

Steven was diagnosed with Autism two years ago at the age of 2 1/2. Miss Betty has known him since infancy.  According to his family, Miss Betty has been an important part of his development, care, and transition into a child with high-function Autism.

He has learned many things in her care and will be attending a traditional classroom for kindergarten thanks to the academic and social skills Miss Betty has helped him develop.

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