HR Robotics Club.jpg

Members of HRVHS' A05 Annex FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team.

Hood River Valley High School’s A05 Annex — FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team — learned it had won the prestigious Pacific Northwest Chairman’s Award via an online ceremony June 25.

It was one of three teams located in Oregon, Washington and Alaska to win the honor. HRVHS was up against teams from Renton, Oak Harbor, Seattle, Tacoma and Issaquah in Washington, Umatilla and Lake Oswego in Oregon, and Anchorage in Alaska, and is now ranked 10th in the Pacific Northwest.

“This is the highest award given to a team,” said engineering teacher Jeff Blackman. “The award is based on the team’s robot and community service.”

But it’s not the only award A05 Annex won during this year’s shortened season. On March 1, A05 Annex won the Clackamas Chairman’s Award during the FRC competition at Clackamas Academy of Industrial Sciences. The students competed against 250 teams from Oregon, Washington and Alaska for that award.

Community service includes the FAB bus, a well-known sight around the county, bringing STEM projects to elementary and migrant students, among others. Students coordinate the annual June First Friday STEM Fair in downtown Hood River, where families can see robots up close and tour the FAB bus (canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19). This year, students also began a Unified Robotics program, bringing robotics to differently-abled classmates and organizing a competition between teams from various schools.

These awards “best represent a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FRC,” according to an FRC news release. A05 Annex has “prioritized breaking down the barriers that prevent students from participating in FRC by developing bilingual STEM curriculum and materials (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics). To spread the word, their Gorge FAB Bus, plastered with FRC stickers, starts students on the road to a successful future.”

A05 Annex 2020 team members are: Edith Soto, team captain, class of 2020; Aunika Yasui, class of 2020 (FIRST scholarship award winner, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Mass.); Dylan Farris, class of 2020; Daniel Santoyo, class of 2021; Grace Guertin, class of 2021; Toby Fenner, class of 2021; Jace Peterson, class of 2021; Nelson VanCott, class of 2021; Nicholas Arenas, class of 2021; James Stanley, class of 2021; Kalvin Young, class of 2022; Aden Cross, class of 2022; Sarah Arpag, class of 2022; Angus Kellems, class of 2023; Brynn Heideman, class of 2023; Patrick McGee, class of 2023; Charles Wilson, class of 2023; Lucas Elliott, class of 2023; Sadie Smith, class of 2023; and Theo Lavine, class of 2023.

To watch a video on A05 Annex outreach and programs, visit To watch the Pacific Northwest Chairman’s Award ceremony, visit (the team learns of their award and gives an interview at about the 23:30 mark).

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