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Rio Grande City CISD Bilingual Program hosts STEM CAMP: “¡Valemos por dos!”

Updated: Sep 25, 2019

Five Rio Grande City CISD Middle School boys excitedly watch as one of them masterfully flies the drone through an obstacle hoop. The students at this STEM CAMP learned about several ways the drone can be used apart from play. Photo By: Ramon Perez

June 2019

Written By: Abigail M. Avila

RIO GRANDE CITY, TX­– Just miles away from the U.S.-Mexican border, tiny, colorful robots zoom over uniquely designed tracks while drones fly effortlessly through hoops. Rovers are turning and flipping over obstacles just beside a robotic arm attempting to grasp and lift a block from the rovers’ path. A few feet away, an excited group of girls and boys are exploring our solar system through virtual reality. The atmosphere is buzzing with the energy radiating from the operators of the emerging technologies: elementary and middle school students of Rio Grande City CISD’s Bilingual Program.

“The CAMP was out-of-this-world! I had a lot of fun with my friends. I learned to collaborate, critically think, and how to respect [others]. We first built a bridge, then a slide, then we tested out different VR (Virtual Reality) technologies. I think I could make my parents proud by showing them what I did today,” Leonardo Bermea, Rio Grande City CISD Elementary Student, said.

A large group of Rio Grande City CISD Bilingual Department’s students were divided into two groups: Elementary and Middle School students. The CAMPs were held at two separate campuses and the content was adjusted for the age differences between the groups. The themes remained the same, though: a deep and exciting exploration of the college and career fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). The CAMPs were given in both English and Spanish. They were presented in a fun and exciting way for the students to begin early engagement in their future.

Four RGCCISD Middle School students gather around the rovers’ station and take turns operating the high-tech gadgets. Three students laugh when one of the rovers flips over an obstacle block while the fourth students hopes the rover is okay. The students learned about some of the ways we use rovers today. Photo By: Ramon Perez

A 2013-17 Census of Rio Grande City shows 92.5 percent of people age 5 and older spoke a language at home other than English. Because that percentage is so high, the students are immersed in a culture where have access to a whole other world of knowledge that the Bilingual Program works tirelessly to cultivate.

“Our vision is that ELLs become bilingual, biliterate to graduate ready for a college career and life in a global, multicultural society.” Said Jesus Martinez, Rio Grande City CISD Bilingual Director. The program reinforces the importance of knowing more than one language, and the student’s now understand why too.

“I believe bilingual programs should be in every district,” Lorena Chapa, Rio Grande City CISD Elementary Student, said. “It’s important [to know another language], just in case, if you want to be a Doctor and you need to talk English or Spanish because patients come from all over the world. The more you know, the better. ¡Valemos por dos!”

A small group of RGCCISD Elementary students take turns flying a drone shortly after learning about how this technology can be used for life-saving rescue missions. Photo By: Ramon Perez

According to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, knowing more than one language opens countless doors and has endless benefits. Some positives that come with knowing more than one language that are worth mentioning are that it: boosts confidence, strengthens decision making, makes picking up another language easier, feeds your brain, deepens your connection to other cultures, and helps to advance your career!

By being equipped with the ability to speak, read, and write in more than one language, these scholars will be invaluable additions to the workforce and our global society in the STEM field or any other field of study they pursue. It truly brings the world together when language is no longer a barrier.

“Collaborating together makes everything much better. And it makes the world work smarter, but not harder,” Cristopher Hernandez, Rio Grande City CISD Middle School Student, said.

For more information on Rio Grande City CISD and their Bilingual/ESL Department, please contact them at 956-716-6830 or visit their website at College 1st is a program founded in 2013 in the Rio Grande Valley to empower students for college and career success. For more details about the program, please visit our website at

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