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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, March 8, 2010

Waialua High robotics team wins regional championship

Advertiser Staff

The Waialua High School robotics team The Hawaiian Kids won the 2010 San Diego Regional FIRST For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Robotics competition held last weekend in the San Diego Sports Arena, Gov. Linda Lingle's office announced yesterday.

The Hawaiian Kids were part of a three-team alliance that took the top prize at the regional event participated in by a total of 49 student robotics teams from around the country.

By winning the regional, the Waialua students secured a spot for the seventh time in the 2010 FIRST International Championships in Atlanta in April.

Also competing in San Diego was Sacred Hearts Academy's Lancer Robotics team, which placed 12th overall.

At another regional competition last weekend in Portland, Ore., McKinley High School's Team Kika Mana finished 42nd out of 61 teams.

Three Hawai'i teams from Waialua, Maui High and Baldwin High will compete in the Arizona Regional next weekend.

Hawai'i's FIRST robotics season runs March 25-27, when 24 Hawai'i teams and four visiting teams from Alaska, Louisiana and New Jersey compete at the third annual FIRST in Hawai'i Regional Robotics Competition at the University of Hawai'i-Mānoa Stan Sheriff Center.

The event is free and open to the public.

"Through robotics education and participation in FIRST robotics for the past 10 years, the Waialua Robotics Team has consistently demonstrated outstanding knowledge and application of science, technology, engineering and math or STEM education skills," Lingle said in a statement. "All of the students who are involved in robotics are gaining valuable lessons in critical thinking and teamwork, and they are positioning themselves to succeed in school and their careers, as well as to find innovative solutions that will improve the future of Hawai'i."

Hawai'i robotics teams have been working with teachers and industry mentors since January to build robots to meet a specific engineering challenge, using a common kit of parts motors, batteries, a control system, a PC, and a mix of automation components but no instructions.

FIRST Robotics is one of six major programs, all under the umbrella of the Robotics Organizing Committee or ROC, in which Hawai'i students can participate: FIRST LEGO League, FIRST Robotics, Botball, VEX Robotics, Underwater Remote Operating Vehicle (ROV) and Micro Robotics.