Azalea Martinez is a junior at Riverside University High School and is a member of the school’s Midwest Regional champion robotic team. But her “educational career” began when she was 3 years old as one of the first participants in COA’s HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters) program. As a young parent, Leticia Martinez enrolled in the HIPPY program, and 3 years later Azalea was a HIPPYgraduate – ready to learn and succeed in school. Leticia noted, “As a young parent, HIPPY taught me a lot. I learned the importance of being really involved in my children’s lives and the things they would need to know to be ready for school.” Azalea also attended COA’s nationally accredited Riverwest Early Education Center.
And Azalea took it from there. Because of her skills in math and science, one of her teachers encouraged her to join the robotics team at Riverside, a part of COA’s after school Community Learning Center (CLC). The “Robotigers” is made up of 15 students that work together to build and program a robot to perform specific tasks.
|The Riverside Robotics team in Chicago|
Their hard work paid off, as the team beat over 50 teams from around the country and won the Midwest Regional competition in Chicago. The team then went on to compete in the World Championships in St. Louis. Being a part of the robotics team exposes the teens to new experiences and relates their science and math skills into real world applications. “Being on the Robotics Team has taught me so much and has made me want to become an engineer,” states Azalea.
Azalea isn’t the only one who was positively impacted by HIPPY. All five of Leticia‘s children have gone through the HIPPY program and Leticia is now a HIPPY Parent Partner, who has served HIPPY families with COA for over 10 years. “HIPPY taught me a lot as a mother and to be really involved in my children’s lives, and I want to continue to help families going through the same thing.” She is looking towards the future. “I’ve always had a goal to go back to school, but I always put my family first. COA has encouraged me to enroll in school this fall for Early Education,” Leticia says.
Congrats Azalea and Leticia on your success!