The 13th annual FIRST LEGO League Regional event, held this past Saturday at Toledo Technology Academy, was a huge success.

More than 300 area children on 32 teams competed in the event at the school, 3301 Upton Ave. Ten of those teams either represented Toledo Public Schools or were made up of TPS students.

After an exciting day of robot competition, the team from Chase STEM Academy had a Top 10 finish and was chosen to be the TPS Ambassador team to represent northwest Ohio in the Dayton Regional event.

With so many visitors at the school, TTA also hosted an Open House on Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m., where parents and students were able to take tours and pick up information on admission to the 7th, 8th, and 9th grades for next year.

A little bit about Saturday’s competition: FIRST LEGO League introduces young people, ages 9 to 14, to the fun and excitement of science and technology while building self-confidence, knowledge and career and life skills.

The Big Game is in the history books, but there will be a lasting legacy in the Toledo community, thanks to several Toledo Public Schools.

That’s because these schools tied the age-old rivalry of the Ohio State Buckeyes and the University of Michigan Wolverines to the desire to help people in their community.

In the weeks leading up to Saturday’s game (won by the Buckeyes, 42-28) students and staff at several of our schools brought in canned goods and personal hygiene products, declaring which team they wanted their donations to be put under, all the while collecting for those less fortunate than themselves.

Giving back to the community is a key component of the TPS Proud movement and these schools have embraced that philosophy.

Ottawa River Elementary wrapped up its three-week drive on Thursday, November 20, and the totals made it one of the most successful drives the school has ever had, Sarah Welly wrote to the families of the Point Place school. The goal was 1100 items and 200 new toys to be donated to the Mustard Seed food bank.

“In just 10 days you sent in....*drum roll please*... 2580 food and personal care items and 250 toys. The Buckeyes were our team that came out on top this year but as our principal said on the announcements today, "the real winners are the families in our community who will benefit from these donations."

Felipe Pagan, a Bowsher High School junior and recent transplant from Puerto Rico, knows two things for sure: he doesn’t like the cold in northwest Ohio and he wants a career working with reptiles.

He can’t do much about the first but he has found a way to start learning about reptiles while still in high school.

Felipe is a student at the Natural Science Technology Center that is part of Toledo Public Schools and is adjacent to the Toledo Botanical Garden in South Toledo. The center, at 5561 Elmer Dr., is home to programs in Small Animal Science, Floral Design and Greenhouse and Landscape and Turf.

Juniors and seniors in those programs arrive at the center each day by school bus by 7:30 a.m. and then head to their home high schools for the afternoons at 11:40 a.m. In between, they are getting hands-on experience caring for animals, designing floral arrangements and growing plants in a greenhouse and maintaining the 10 acres that the center sits on. All of the students also become members of the Toledo FFA.