Spare Parts


I am a boy named Oscar, an undocumented teenager, and my family is also not documented. And as I entered home after a “great” day at Cayden Bay Community High School, I saw a flyer about a URV competition, also known as an underwater robot contest, that could give you a scholarship at a technology college. So the next day, when I went to school, I went to the computer printers, and I printed out flyers.

And while I was handing out flyers, I saw the substitute science teacher, Mr. Hamilton, and said, “Can I make a club to go to this competition? But we have to consult with the principal to make sure.”



I am a boy named Fred, with the same story, but I don’t need a competition. I am one of the kids who knows how to code, and I am good with technology. I went to a computer and was doing homework, but got shoved off by a bully.

He went to play video games on it, and I said, “I can hack it so you will be invincible in the game.”

Wow, he is actually going to fall for this, I thought.

I hacked it, and I shut down the game and the computer, so the bully couldn’t play his game anymore. And then, as I ran up the stairs to safety, I saw a teenager like me handing out waivers. I received one, and I thought for a second and said to myself, “I can be a part of this, and I could get into a great college!”

So I decided to go to the meeting. When I got there, I saw another teenager named Lorenzo. I was just a bit shocked because I never thought that this many people wanted to come. These people all looked Mexican, and so was I. I asked them why they wanted to come, including my friend and another teenager I didn’t know.



“So we have to build a robot,” the boy named Fred said. “We need PVC pipes and motors, cameras, and more.”

“Dang. That’s a lot of money we are talking about to get those motors.”  

I really didn’t think that we were going to be number one, but at least we were going to beat some colleges. All the other colleges were huge, and they had a lot of money.

“Well, guess what? If you guys want to win, you have to raise money,” the teacher said. ”We will get disqualified if I fund you with money so…”

So I went with them to a store to see what we needed to get. We got the four motors, camera, a lot of PVC pipes, claws, and a liquid extractor, according to the competition.

”You are still $403 dollars and 95 cents short. What do you want to do?” said the store clerk.

“We don’t need an underwater camera. I have a plan,” said the group leader, which was the teacher.

“You are still $195 short.”

“We don’t need a professional camera. We should get a bit of a cheaper one.”

“Yep, that cuts it. You are now free to buy with nothing to owe.”


So now I went with them on a bus, back to the school, and in an empty classroom to try to build part of it.


The Next Day..


So after the rest of the team and I went to sleep, and went along with the school day, we saw what we had to build with and what to do.

“So I still have to manage the battery box and program the motors to a controller,” Fred said.

“The other teenager we finally know the name of,” Alex said. ”I will build the frame of the robot and make sure it’s waterproof.”

The substitute teacher, George Hamilton, said, “I will plan and figure out how many days we have until we have to travel from Arizona to California.”

Lorenzo said, “I will go and organize our place in the competition, and help Alex with the battery box and the motors.”

“My plan with the camera is to make an underwater seal, so that we fit the camera between the PVC all around it,” said George.

“How are we going to see though?” I asked.

“That’s what I was trying to say, Oscar. We put a glass, and seal it on the side the camera is facing!”

At the end of the day, we found each other, made another meeting, and then called it a day.  

Wow, we actually beat an obstacle that other colleges probably would not beat with the money.


The Next Day…


Alex, Fred, George and I all cheered and continued to work on the battery box and constructed it all together.

Fred realized something and said, “Where will our power for the battery box come from? We need to calculate the length of the wires, and we have to make it waterproof.”

Fred said, “I’m on it, but I need money to buy it!”

George said, ”We need to make it a bit quick, because we only have a week, and we need to get the wire and test it all.”

So, after a day of waiting for Fred to get the wire, we got the wire working. So, we had five days to get there and test it.


The Next Day..

Now, we were a bit stressed out. We needed the school’s van, and we needed permission to test it, but there was a problem. Water leaked into the battery box!

“We need something to absorb the water.”



So, they finally got it working and celebrated because we could get scholarships for colleges, since I am still in high school. So later, the gang and I went to the principal and asked for a van, and after a bit of a painful conversation, debating whether or not she would give it to us, she finally said… “Yes!

“YESSSS!” We all yelled in celebration.

We had three days until the competition, so we immediately got into the van.


In the Van…

We were finally on our way. We slept in the van and looked out the window, all surprised and excited. We knew we were not going to beat or even get close to first place. We all looked out for the signs of the college and California as George drove. We went to a sponsored hotel with free rooms and food. I was especially happy because I come from a poor family. So, I ate all I could have.


At the Preparation Area…

We stood under our tent as we watched all the other colleges’ awesome UR’s, comparing it to our ugly robot named Stinky, because it smelled a lot. After the robot test was an oral test. But we had a problem. Alex was one of the kids who did not really know the material. He just came to help and to be in the competition, so we looked at him.

Alex was a problem. All of us needed to teach him. So after the preparation day, we brought our robot back to test it in the private pool the hotel offered. We then realized that the sponges helped a lot. We did an absorbing test, found out that it absorbed a lot of water and barely got wet. Fred came to us and exclaimed this, and was in a rush to put it in the battery box sitting on top of the robot.


At the Hotel Room…

We started teaching Alex what density was, what we did, how we did it, how much money we needed, and how much was funded. According to George, our group leader and teacher, he couldn’t fund the group so we just kept on teaching him and making sure he knew everything. For the competition, we needed uniform t-shirts, so we all got “AWESOME” t-shirts. My friend, who supported me and worked at a fashion store, customized them. We later went back to our party tent to store our robot and we saw all the other robots walking past. All the other people just looked at our ugly robot Stinky, boo, and showed looks of disgust.


At the Competition…

We walked into the pool, to our tent, with our robot. Then, the loudspeaker went off with the judge’s voice:


Virginia Tech went up to the judges to show off their robot. “VIRGINIA TECH WILL GO FIRST!”

Virginia Tech did not complete all the tasks but ended up getting 80 points.

WOW we so far need to beat that.

“But remember guys, we still have the oral test. If we all succeed, we will get 30 points!” said Fred.

MIT walked up and disassembled part of the robot which looked so professional.

”Damn, that looks so good.”

They ended up with 85 points. Then, Cornell went up, showed their robot and ended up with 85 points ALSO. All the rest of the major colleges averaged about 70 points, but one other one got 80 points. None of them got the last task done to give them 40 points.

But then, the loudspeaker announced, ”NOW IT IS TIME FOR CAYDEN BAY.”

BOOOOOOOOOOO,” the crowd said.

We showed the robot and the judges, kind of, got disgusted. We walked back with our controller and made sure everybody was ready.

“Five… Four… Three…. Two… One… GO!”


We activated the robot and went down into the water.  Alright, everybody, engage motors! Check. Press the red button engage claw. Alright, come on, come on. Fourteen seconds left for the task! Fail. Minus five points for Cayden Bay! The diver will open it. Now, identify the sub, I write down 1944 U-BOAT.


Ten points for Cayden Bay!

We moved on to the “move and replace,” and we had to take away the bell and replace it.

“Alright, team! Engage, claw, and close!” We successfully took it, but it dropped to the floor. But we still got half credit for picking it up, so we earned 15 points. We tried again, and then it fell again.

“Alright, move on to the next task, and navigate through currents.” We successfully did that. It gave us 30 points, which meant 45 points total.

“Forty-five points guys, doing good! We have to disarm the torpedo.”

“There are different colors! We should of gotten a color monitor!” Fred exclaimed.

We disarmed the wrong one, minus one point. We went to the last task, to extract the liquid, but we had some trouble. Our camera was knocked out and barely showed where we were. We barely had enough room to do it. But, luckily, we were a bit aligned, and we successfully filled the balloon holding the liquid. We came back and we earned 35 points. Eighty points. Fourth place, but we had the oral test.

“Aw man,” we all said.

But George told us that we beat around six colleges, and we were in high school. So, we cheered up. We went back to our hotel room, and we then put our robot away and reviewed the components. We told Alex to repeat all the answers. We walked up to the college, and then walked to the waiting room while I went first. They asked how much money we used. They asked about density, and mass, and propulsion. Alex told us the answers. Him, Fred, Lorenzo, and I all got happy, and we walked back to our hotel all excited for tomorrow. We got back and celebrated that we beat about 6 colleges, a bit, which was awesome.

“YES!” I yelled. We jumped up and down as we celebrated.


The Next Day…

In the morning, the rest of the group and I put on our shirts and George, no surprise there, woke up last, sleeping on a matress on the floor because there was no space for him to sleep on our bed.

We put on our nicest clothes and walked down the road into the college, and we entered the party room. There was a huge party where the awards and winners would be announced. We went to eat the cake, and then met all the teams and talked to them. Then, the judges start talking about how surprised they were about the winner and that they did not expect it. They started the awards.

“The winner for the cheapest robot in price isss… CAYDEN BAY!”

We stood up and celebrated. I went up first to hold the award first, and I jumped up and down. Then, the other awards went to MIT and other colleges. Then, after a couple of hours, they started announcing the winners. Fourth place gets a medal. Third, second, and first place gets a trophy.

“For fourth place is Virginia Tech!”

“For third place is Cornell!”

“For second place is… M….I….T!!!”

Louder cheers went for this college, and one thing caught my mind. Every time you earned a trophy, you had to announce how much money you used for the robot. And I thought, That robot they build ain’t no poop. It had like a crap ton of technology, and coding, and wires, and all that awesome stuff.



One of the team members repeated the same thing they said to the oral test judges: $18,563 dollars.

$18,563 used just to get second place?

“Now, it is time to announce the most historic moments in robot history. These people took their genius brains to beat the number one college, MIT. For first place, give it up for… C…A…Y…D…E…N BAAY!!!”

Omgod is this actually happening?

We all looked at each other in amazement, and then slowly rose from our seats and jumped up into a group hug.

“Oh My Goddd! We actually did it! The Oral Test!


We all walked up. I jumped up, pumped my fist in the air happily, and then we all raised the trophy. A judge questioned me about the money funded. After everything, I broke away from the group, walked up to the judge, and said, ”Thanks for not disqualifying us from the competition. Why did you not disqualify us? We can’t be funded!”

“Who said you cannot do that? Of course you can do that!”

“My coach said you couldn’t.”

“Well, maybe he was just being cheap!”

“Well, thanks.”

I laughed for a second, and I felt a bit sad that he lied to us and made it into a joke. I stayed in place and looked at him until he looked at me, and I nodded my head left to right multiple times and he cracked up. He lifted his piece of cake, as in asking if I wanted some, and walked and joined them to take photos. We walked back to the hotel room carrying George in our arms, as well as some scholarships to MIT and the trophy, and we celebrated all night long. That’s the end of the true story that actually happened with kids who actually beat MIT.


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