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Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Big Island Robotics Teams head for international competition this weekend
By Lt Gov Duke Aiona @ 7:09 PM :: 7332 Views :: Hawaii County , Energy

by Lt. Governor Duke Aiona
Two high school teams from the Big Island will be participating in a robotics competition March 26-28 at the University of Hawai`i’s Stan Sheriff Center.

The teams of tech-savvy students from Honoka‘a High School and Kohala High School will compete against many of their international peers at the 2009 NASA/BAE Systems FIRST in Hawai‘i Robotics Competition.

More than 1,000 high school students from Mexico, Philippines and four states, including Hawai‘i, will compete in the tournament that challenges teams of young people to solve a common engineering problem, using a standard kit of parts that includes motors, batteries and a control system – but no instructions.

Of the 34 teams in the tournament, 24 represent the state. The winning teams will advance to the FIRST Championships – called the “Super Bowl of Smarts” in Atlanta, Georgia, April 15-18. Honoka‘a High School was one of six teams to represent Hawai‘i last year in Atlanta.

Robotics tournaments that allow hands-on learning 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 those particular subject areas must be part of any meaningful impact that we hope 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 FIRST in Hawai‘i Regional Robotics Competition.

This initiative is about molding tech-savvy, analytical students who solve problems, thrive on teamwork and think critically.

Through their participation in this competition, students on Honoka‘a High School’s robotics team as well as Kohala High School’s robotic team are playing a critical role in our Administration’s efforts to prepare students for a more diverse economy shaped by technology and globalization.

For more information about the FIRST in Hawai‘i Regional Robotics Competition, visit


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