4 Hawaiʻi Island Schools to Compete Robotics Championship

December 19, 2018, 11:20 AM HST (Updated December 19, 2018, 11:20 AM)
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2019 Hawaiian Electric Companies’ Hawaiʻi State VEX VRC Robotics Championship. Courtesy photo

The 2019 Hawaiian Electric Companies’ Hawaiʻi State VEX VRC Robotics Championship featuring Hawaiʻi’s top middle and high school robotics teams will be held Jan. 12, 2019 at the University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa Campus Center Ballroom.

Schools competing from the Big Island thus far include Hilo High, Keaʻau High, Kohala High and St. Joseph.

Participation in the state championship is by invitation only through team qualifications at regional
level tournaments or leagues, and spots for 36 teams are available.

The state competition will qualify five teams to advance to the 2019 VEX Worlds in Louisville,
Kentucky, next April, where they will compete with over 1,200 of the top, student-led teams from
around the world.

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To date, registered teams are from Highlands Intermediate (Pearl City, O‘ahu), Hilo High (Big Island), Island Pacific Academy (Kapolei, O‘ahu), Island Robotics (Waipahu, O‘ahu), Kamehameha Schools – Kapālama (O‘ahu), Kapolei Middle (O‘ahu), Keaʻau High (Big Island), Kohala High (Big Island), Maryknoll High (Honolulu, O‘ahu), Maui High (Kahului), Maui Waena (Kahului), Molokaʻi High, Nānākuli High & Intermediate (O‘ahu), Pearl City High (O‘ahu), Sacred Hearts Academy (Honolulu, O‘ahu), St. Joseph (Hilo), St. Louis (Honolulu, O‘ahu), Waipahu High(O‘ahu) and Waialua High & Intermediate( O‘ahu), with some schools or robotics clubs registering multiple teams.

The 2019 VEX game challenge, called “Turning Point,” is played between two team alliances of two teams each (a red and a blue team) on a 12-by-12-foot square field. The object of the game is to attain a higher score than the opposing alliance by maneuvering the robot to perform specific actions, autonomously or driver-controlled, during a series of matches.

“Artificial intelligence, automation, and robotics are transforming jobs and the workplace,” said Art
Kimura of the Hawaiʻi Space Grant Consortium, which helps organize the state competition. “VEX
robotics students have the opportunity to apply their science, technology, engineering and
mathematics skills in an engaging game-based engineering challenge while gaining valuable life
lessons such as collaboration, problem-solving, time management, and critical thinking.”

Since 2013, the Hawaiian Electric Companies have presented the VEX State Championships to
advance STEM education and curriculum and promote interest in STEM careers among Hawaiʻi
students. About 25-50 employees volunteer with team registration, field reset and queing, and
judging each year.

Opening ceremonies begin at 8:45 a.m. with qualification matches starting at 9 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.

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