Brownsville students join international competition

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Halil Hamscho, Clarissa Montiel, Teacher Xavier H. Gonzalez, and Xavier Gonzalez. Absent Adrian Jasso

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (KVEO) — Four Brownville students will be part of a group representing the United States at the International Space Settlement Design Competition (ISSDC).

The competition, which will take place from July 30 to Aug. 2 at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida, requires students to create the best design starting from the ground up. These designs are made specifically to a Request For Proposal, or RFP to develop a settlement.

This competition, offers students the opportunity to “get a simulated experience for working in a tech company,” said Dr. Fredrick Jenet, founder and executive director of Expanding Frontiers, a nonprofit organization that hosts space settlement competitions unique to South Texas.

The competitions are the only sanctioned tournament in the region.

Through the nonprofit, the students were able to compete in the East Coast Space Settlement Design Contest to reach the international competition. Out of 20 Brownsville Hannah High School students, only four advanced on to the grand stage.

Xavier Gonzalez, Clarissa Montiel, Adrian Jasso, and Halil Hamscho are part of the team that qualified to compete. Gonzalez, Montiel, and Hamscho said it is an honor to represent South Texas. Jasso was out of town when the interview took place.

Halil Hamscho

“At the end of the day, being from South Texas, it gives me a sense of purpose to go and be successful,” said Hamscho. A recent graduate of Brownsville Hannah, this will be the last tournament before leaving for college with his twin brother.

The students are wanting to leave their mark and make noise for South Texas.

“It gives the people the chance to prove themselves,” said Montiel. “We are just as good enough or even better than you know, people anywhere else.”

Montiel gets to return for one more year to hopefully compete again at the international stage.

Clarissa Montiel

“I want to show that anyone, even if you are known as one of the poorest cities in well anywhere really, that you can do anything,” said Gonzalez. Like Montiel, he gets to return next year.

His father Xavier H. Gonzalez is also the teacher and sponsor of the group. At the end of the day, they all think of themselves as family.

Xavier Gonzalez


“They’re part of everything we do, we spend a lot of time with each other so they’re all family,” said Xavier H. Gonzalez. Having selected the students first hand, he knows what each student is capable of.

“They are top-notch,” said Gonzalez adding that students have also competed at state levels in every single competition they’ve been in.

The students are currently raising funds for their trip on GoFundMe.

“They’re basically on their own, They’ve earned it, now they got to get there,” Said Xavier H. Gonzalez.

Xavier H. Gonzalez

This is only the beginning of the space settlement competitions. The goal is to eventually have them throughout the Rio Grande Valley. “The idea is to get more and more students involved,” said Dr. Jenet. “We want to show the world and the nation that we can compete at their level.”

Halil Hamscho, Clarissa Montiel, Xavier H. Gonzalez, and Xavier Gonzalez

Any high school student is eligible to compete. For more information on how to register for the next event visit Expanding Frontiers or their Facebook page.

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