Galalions of Monserrate Leon de Irizarry High School

By Christian Ostorga

Monserrate Leon de Irizarry High School, located less than a mile down the road from Boquerón Beach, one of the island’s most frequented attractions, is home to the Galalions— a Sea Grant Puerto Rico Team and our 2018 Rising Star Award recipients.

Surrounded by crystal blue waters, dry terrain and a relaxed-easygoing atmosphere, it’s hard to believe that anyone in this beautiful beach town would prefer to spend their time indoors researching, coding, and programming.

Certainly not the case for the Galalions who are getting ready to make a second appearance at our FIRST LEGO League PR Championship this Saturday.

“We are preparing to give the best of ourselves, contributing our individual ideas and overcoming many challenges,” says head coach Brenda Estévez, a 17-year science teacher whose husband Wendell Rivera serves as an assistant coach and son Wendell Jr. forms part of the team.

Less than a year ago, after presenting one of the strongest projects in the competition, this sophomore squad from Cabo Rojo made the judge deliberation very challenging for our panel of judges. The group composed of many curious investigative minds dug deep into solving our Hydrodynamics challenge with just about a month of preparation.

Weeks after, Brenda and current team member Naiomy, along with a few former members, traveled to NASA’s Johnson Space Center to present a separate project on Space. Little did they know that the following season’s theme would be INTO ORBIT.

(Their interview can be seen on WORA-TV’s page.)

“Part of the team is new. Other members were part of the Hydrolions team which joined after the passage of Hurricane Maria,” Brenda adds.

“The best quality is the respect and support that prevails between them. We have learned a lot, and have developed both individually and as a team.”

The group has also relied heavily on the support of their sponsor Sea Grant.

“We have the support of one of the most fascinating education groups, Sea Grant. We are a beach team, our school is right next to Boquerón Beach, and we share the same passion for the ocean.”

Sea Grant is an educational program devoted to the conservation and sustainable use of coastal and marine resources in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Last year, they approached Brenda who had previously collaborated with the project and offered to sponsor the team. The sponsorship proved successful and the partnership continues to this day.

We’re grateful for organizations like Sea Grant who invest in the future of our students and who are just as excited to celebrate the achievements of the Galalions.

Come see them this Saturday, February 2 at the Puerto Rico Convention Center.