Hilo High Robotics Team Advances to World Championships

Listen to this Article
3 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

Friends of Hawai‘i Robotics announces that Hilo High’s Robotics team will advance to the World Championships and that Waialua High School was named the regional winner at this weekend’s FIRST Robotics Competition Hawai‘i Regional held at the University of Hawai‘i Stan Sheriff Center.

Waialua, Hilo and McKinley robotics teams will head to Houston next month for the World Championships.

Attended by thousands of fans, families, educators and industry leaders, the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition Hawai‘i Regional awarded several teams with honors that rewarded design excellence, competitive play, sportsmanship and high impact partnerships between schools, businesses and communities. The tournament was sponsored by Oceanic Time Warner Cable.

Held on Friday and Saturday, March 23 and 24, 2018, 37 local, national and international high school teams competed for a chance to participate in the World Championships in Houston, Texas, from Thursday through Saturday, April 19 to 21, 2017. Hilo High School’s robotics team, along with teams representing Waialua and McKinley High will move on to compete at the World Championships in Houston.

With the hope of winning one of several coveted awards, high school students worked with professional mentors to design and build a robot over a six-week period that solved a problem using a kit of parts and a standard set of rules.

“Each team clearly demonstrated teamwork, professionalism and strategic thinking in solving the competition’s challenges,” said Lenny Klompus, president and chair of Friends of Hawai‘i Robotics. “With the sustained support of the Hawai‘i robotics ‘ohana—including dedicated corporate sponsors McDonald’s of Hawai‘i, Alaska Airlines, Booz Allen Hamilton and Bank of Hawai‘i—this robotics competition will continue to grow and inspire students to study math, science and engineering.”

Winners of the FIRST Robotics Competition 2018 Hawai‘i Robotics Regional include:


Award Categories:

Regional Chairman’s Award*

Taipei American School (Taipei, Taiwan) FIRST Team 4253

Engineering Inspiration Award**

Hilo High School, FIRST Team 1378


Woodie Flowers Finalist Award

Keith Imada, Maui High School, FIRST Team 2443

Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award

Mark Mavalawski, Regional Planning Committee Member

Regional Champion**

  • Waialua High School, FIRST Team 359
  • Taipei American School (Taipei, Taiwan), FIRST Team 4253
  • Grandville High School, FIRST Team 244

Regional Finalists

  • McKinley High School, FIRST Team 368
  • Hilo High School, FIRST Team 1378
  • Rancho Christian High School (California), FIRST Team 4984

Rookie All Star*** 

Sakura Tempesta (Japan) , FIRST Team 6909

FIRST Dean’s List Finalist Award

  • Kanon Nakajima, Sakura Tempesta (Japan), FIRST Team 6909
  • Ina Klasner, Hilo High School, FIRST Team 1378

Creativity Award

Pearl City High School, FIRST Team 3721

Entrepreneurship Award

Poway High School (Poway, California), FIRST Team 1622

Excellence in Engineering Award

Lahainaluna High School, FIRST Team 3882

Gracious Professionalism Award

St. Louis High School, FIRST Team 4270

Imagery Award

Mid Pacific Institute, FIRST Team 6704

Industrial Design Award

Kalani High School, FIRST Team 3008

Innovation in Control Award

Kalani High School, FIRST Team 368

Judges’ Award

Maui High School, FIRST Team 2443

Quality Award

Waialua High School, FIRST Team 359

Rookie Inspiration Award

Tapei DongShan High School (Taipei, Taiwan), FIRST Team 7069

Safety Award

Poway High School (San Diego, CA), FIRST Team 1622

Team Spirit Award

Kamehameha High School (Kapalama), FIRST Team 2445


  • Rancho Christian High School (California), FIRST Team 4984
  • McKinley High School , FIRST Team 368

*The Chairman’s Award is the most prestigious award of the event and recognizes the team that embodies the goals and purpose of FIRST and best represents a model for other teams to emulate.

**Denotes awards where teams qualify to participate in the FIRST Championship to be held in Houston, Texas.


Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $25 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST Tech Challenge for Grades 7-12; FIRST LEGO League for Grades 4-8; and FIRST LEGO League Jr. for Grades K-3. Gracious Professionalism is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go online.

About Friends of Hawai‘i Robotics 

Friends of Hawai‘i Robotics (Friends) is a registered Hawai‘i 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, non-partisan organization, formed in 2008 to support Hawai‘i school’s robotics programs statewide. 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.

Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments