11th Annual FIRST Robotics Regional Competition

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FIRST Robotics Regional Competition. PC:

Friends of Hawai’i Robotics will host the 11th annual FIRST Robotics Regional Competition on Friday and Saturday, March 23 and 24, 2018, at the University of Hawai’i’s Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.

More than 1,200 students, representing 36 local, national and international high school teams, will compete for a chance to participate in the World Championships in Houston, Texas, April 18 through 21, 2018.

Student teams will use their highly advanced human-sized robots, which were created during a six-week build season, to complete a variety of tasks within this year’s theme of FIRST Power UP SM .

This innovative game transports robots and teams into a retro arcade game where they must work together to defeat “The Boss.”

Robots earn points by scoring power up game cubes and balance on scales to gain ownership of the game.


“We are extremely proud that this annual capstone event on the robotics calendar is now rolling into its second decade,” said Lenny Klompus, President of Friends of Hawai’i Robotics. “Our 11th-year is a milestone by encouraging more students to enter the world of STEM (science, technology engineering and math). While the challenge of robot building is exciting as a baseline in innovation, this program creates opportunities for our students across the state to learn to work as a team to solve real-world- life-problems, which enhancing their teamwork and communications skills. Today, more than ever, students are moving on to secondary education with diverse tools that enables them to build for their future careers in a myriad of fields.

Aside from learning STEM-related skills, students in the program are taught about teamwork and problem-solving to complete the task at hand, Klompus noted.

“By supporting nine programs in the state, the Friends of Hawai’i Robotics Continuum of Education Plan (K-12) is a phenomenal high-tech playground for students to create smarter ways of performing everyday tasks that lead to untapped discoveries,” said Angela Wong, executive director and member of the Board of Trustees. “Robots are no longer science fiction. They are now such an integral part of our lives. I know after participating and know watching ‘up close and personal’ what our student teams are capable of achieving, we are confident about growing a stronger workforce in our state.”

The 2018 FIRST Hawai’i Robotics Regional Competition is free and open to the public.

Event parking at the Stan Sheriff Center is $6.


For more information on the competition or Friends of Hawai’i Robotics, call (808) 738-4590 or visit

To help raise funds for the student teams’ operating and travel expenses, McDonald’s restaurants statewide will donate $1 to the school robotic teams for each Filet of Fish sandwich or meal purchased between Feb. 26 and March 6.

About the FIRST Hawai’i Robotics Competition

Held since 2008, The FIRST Hawai’i Robotics Competition (FRC) is an annual competition that challenges high school students to working alongside professional mentors in designing and building robots. Competing in a contest that measures the effectiveness of each robot and the power of teamwork, collaboration and professionalism, the program’s goal is to motivate students to consider technology as a career by using robots to solve or mitigate real world problems.

About the Friends of Hawai’i Robotics


Now in its 11th year since its inception, Friends of Hawai’i Robotics (Friends) is a registered Hawai’i 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, non-partisan organization. Initially stated as the Robotics Organizing Committee in 2006, the ROC folded into Friends with a board of directors of leading community leaders.

Friends of Hawai’i Robotics’ year-round mission and commitment is to create additional opportunities for students to develop essential 21st-century life skills, which prepare them to become Hawai‘i’s leaders of tomorrow. 

Recognizing the importance of promoting robotics at an early age, and sustaining students’ interest in STEM education, “Friends” supports Hawai’i’s nine robotics programs in elementary, middle, and high schools statewide.

Hands-on robotics education has proven to be a successful STEM education pathway through which students become engaged with learning and their passion is ignited. As stressed in the National Academies report Rising Above the Gathering Storm: “Students must acquire such skills as adaptability, complex communication, social skills, non-routine problem-solving, self-management and systems thinking to compete in the modern economy.”

A board of trustees manages the corporate and individual contributions which are turned into grants for Hawai‘i school teams.

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