RELATED: Lahainaluna Robotics team advances to world championship
by Lt. Governor Duke Aiona
The robotics team at Wai`akea High School turned in an eye-popping performance recently at the Hawai`i Convention Center in Honolulu. The tech-savvy students on the team outperformed many of their international peers at the three-day inaugural VEX Robotics Pan-Pacific Championship.
More than 80 middle and high school teams from Hawai`i, California and China competed in the tournament that required them to build robots designed to solve a set of problems. Among other teams representing the Big Island were: Honoka`a High and Intermediate School as well as Kohala High School.
Wai`akea High School is one of roughly a dozen teams to advance to the world championship set for April 30 through May 2, 2009 at the Dallas Convention Center and Arena, where teams of students will compete against their top-ranked peers from around the world.
Tournaments that allow teams of students to design, build and program fully autonomous robots represent a new dimension in a statewide push by our Administration to develop the skills of Hawai‘i students in science, technology, engineering and math – subjects that are key to our state’s economic competitiveness and research.
It is increasingly clear that building a world-class education system that provides students with a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering and math must be part of any meaningful impact that we expect any new generation to have in reshaping the Hawai‘i workforce.
That is an important emerging feature in our Administration’s effort to drive innovation and spark creativity in our students by supporting events such as the VEX Robotics Pan-Pacific Championship.
In short, this initiative is about molding tech-savvy, achievement-oriented students who seek feedback and thrive on teamwork.
And students on Wai`akea High School’s robotics team can certainly hold their heads high. Their recent performance at the VEX Robotics Pan-Pacific Championship has propelled their team to the movement’s forefront in Hawai`i, where our Administration is sharply focused on preparing students for a more diverse new economy shaped by technology and globalization.