Categorized | Education

Waiakea, Kealakehe robotics students head to championships


Waialua High, McKinley High and Kealakehe High School robotics teams won this year’s FIRST in Hawaii Regional Robotics Competition, qualifying them to move on to the 2011 FIRST Robotics Championship at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri, April 27-30.

In all, six teams from Hawaii schools have secured spots in the international championship, ensuring the Aloha State will be well represented in the prestigious competition dubbed the “Super Bowl of Smarts.”

After an exciting weekend of competition, including 55 qualifying matches and a high-energy finals bracket match-up of the top 24 teams, six Hawaii teams battled for the championship title including a three-team alliance of Baldwin, Waiakea and Lahainaluna High Schools and an opposing alliance of Waialua, McKinley and Kealakehe High Schools.

In a best two-of-three match, the Waialua, McKinley and Kealakehe alliance won in the third match.

The following Hawaii schools advanced to the international championship:

* Kealakehe High School
* McKinley High School
* Sacred Hearts Academy (previously qualified at Worcester Polytechnic Institute Regional Competition)
* Waiakea High School
* Waialua High School (also previously qualified at New York City Regional Competition)
* Waianae High School

In addition to the tournament competition winners, the following recognitions were awarded to the teams of student competitors:

* Regional Chairman’s Award: Greater Sydney High Schools, Sydney, Australia

* Engineering Inspiration Award: Waiakea High School

* Rookie All-Star Award: Waianae High School

* Dean’s List Students: Adria Fung, Sacred Hearts Academy; Eric Teshima, Kalani High School

* Regional Finalists: Baldwin High, Lahainaluna High, Waiakea High

* Gracious Professionalism Award Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson: Punahou School

* Highest Rookie Seed: Waianae High School

* Industrial Safety Award Sponsored by Underwriters Laboratories: Sacred Hearts Academy

* Quality Award Sponsored by Motorola: Waialua High School
Coopertition Award (TM): Punahou School

* Team Spirit Award Sponsored by Chrysler: The Kauaibots, including students from Island School, Kapaa High, Waimea High, and Kauai High

* Industrial Design Award: Kealakehe High School

* Judge’s Award: Kapolei High School

Also during the competition, awards were handed out to:

* Maui High School: Excellence in Design Award – Sponsored by Autodesk

* Greater Sydney High Schools, Sydney, Australia: Imagery Award in Honor of Jack Kamen

* Waiakea High School: Innovation in Control Award – Sponsored by Rockwell Automation

* Baldwin High School: Creativity Award – Sponsored by Xerox

* McKinley High School: Engineering Excellence Award – Sponsored by Delphi

* Kalani High School: Entrepreneurship Award – Sponsored by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

* Pearl City High School: Rookie Inspiration Award

* Waialua High School: Website Award

* McKinley High School: Woodie Flowers Award for outstanding mentor, Ms. Elaine Owens

In this year’s challenge named “LOGO MOTION”, two alliances of three teams competed on a 27-by-54-foot field with poles, and earned points by hanging as many triangle, circle and square logo pieces as possible.

Bonus points were earned for each robot that can hang and assemble logo pieces to form the FIRST logo. Robots can also deploy Mini-Bots to climb vertical poles for a chance to earn additional points.

The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition challenges teams of young people and their mentors to solve a common engineering problem in a six-week timeframe using a standard “kit of parts” and a common set of rules.

The competition allows students to apply academic knowledge and innovation, while developing teamwork, problem-solving and critical thinking skills that will better prepare them to continue their education and enter the workforce.

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