Cabrillo Middle School brings home robotics honors

Celebrating their victory!

The Riptide Robotics team from Cabrillo Middle School in Ventura recently participated in the First LEGO League Los Angeles Area Championship Tournament, after winning the Champion’s Award at the Ventura Regionals. They came home with the coveted First LEGO League Research Project Award for the work they did on their project, the “Veggie-Sphere.”

This year’s theme “Into Orbit” allows teams to build and compete with their robots but also expands the challenge and asks all teams to develop a project that would allow for humans to stay alive, healthy, and happy while living and working in outer space. This team took the problem of growing food in space and developed the “Veggie-Sphere.”

“Finding a way to grow food in the dark, without gravity, and very little soil was a hard problem to tackle. Through many tries and failures we think we developed a way that would allow astronauts to grow vegetables in these conditions,” stated team member Sam Quiroz.

“We were provided with the opportunity to talk with NASA Engineers in Florida, we took a tour of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs and worked with engineers at Sessa Manufacturing who assisted us in developing our prototype,” stated team member Connor Upham.

Coached by JD Sessa, the Riptide Robotics team is made up of ten students; Alicia Ali, Alexander Blomquist, Olivia Blomquist, Emiliano Ferro, Matheus Gamble, Sam Quiroz, Burton Sessa, Conner Upham, and Scott Vreeland. The team is currently fundraising and looking for additional sponsors to assist them with project/robot costs and the purchase of two new laptops. Individuals can donate to their GoFundMe page at and companies who wish to sponsor can reach out to fundraising committee member and team parent, Marieanne Quiroz at

FIRST LEGO League is an international program for 9 to 16-year-old children (ages vary by country) created in a partnership between FIRST and the LEGO Group in 1998 to get children excited about science and technology – and teach them valuable career and life skills. Children work alongside adult Mentors to design, build, and program autonomous robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS® and create an innovative solution to a real-world problem as part of their research project.

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