High School Students Recognized at 12th Annual Robotics Competition

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McKinley High School, Waialua High School, and China Urban Youth Robotics Alliance (Shanghai, China) were named the regional winners at this weekend’s FIRST Robotics Competition Hawai‘i Regional held at the University of Hawai‘i Stan Sheriff Center.

Held Friday and Saturday, March 29 and 30, 2019, 36 local, national, and international high school teams competed for a chance to participate in the World Championships on April 17-20 in Houston, Texas.

Along with the three regional winners, four other high school teams—‘Iolani, Moloka‘i, Maui and Maryknoll—will also head to 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.

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, FedEx, Alaska Airlines, Booz Allen Hamilton, Bank of Hawai‘i and Hawaiian Telcom—this robotics competition will continue to grow and inspire students to study math, science and engineering.”


Winners of the FIRST Robotics Competition 2019 Hawai‘i Robotics Regional include:

Award Categories:

Regional Chairman’s Award**

Sakura Tempest (Edogawa-Ku, Japan)

FIRST Team 6909

Engineering Inspiration Award**


‘Iolani High School

FIRST Team 2438

Woodie Flowers Finalist Award

Matthew Fagen, Taipei American School (Taipei, Taiwan)

FIRST Team 4253


Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award

Teri Nobriga, Regional Planning Committee Member and FIRST Judge

Regional Champion**

Waialua High School

FIRST Team 359

McKinley High School

FIRST Team 368

China Urban Youth Robotics Alliance (Shanghai, China)

FIRST Team 5515

Regional Finalists

Maui High School

FIRST Team 2443

Maryknoll High School

FIRST Team 2441

Taipei American School (Taipei, Taiwan)

FIRST Team 4253

Rookie All Star**

Moloka‘i High School

FIRST Team 7724

FIRST Dean’s List Finalist Award

Katelyn Amoroso, Sacred Hearts Academy

FIRST Team 2437

Johnel Torrejas, Maui High School

FIRST Team 2443

Creativity Award

Taipei American School

FIRST Team 4253

Entrepreneurship Award

National Nanke International Experimental High School (Taipei, Taiwan)

FIRST Team 6998

Excellence in Engineering Award

Waialua High School

FIRST Team 359

Gracious Professionalism Award

Punahou School

FIRST Team 2090

Imagery Award

Mid Pacific Institute

FIRST Team 6704

Industrial Design Award

Kamehameha Schools (Kapalama)

FIRST Team 2444

Innovation in Control Award

McKinley High School

FIRST Team 368

Judges’ Award

Taipei Municipal ChengGong Senior High School (Taipei, Taiwan)

FIRST Team 7497

Quality Award

St. Louis High School

FIRST Team 4270

Rookie Inspiration Award

LeJardin Academy

FIRST Team 7548

Safety Award

Sacred Hearts Academy

FIRST Team 2437

Team Spirit Award

Kapolei High School

FIRST Team 2445

Wildcard **

Maui High School

FIRST Team 2443

Maryknoll High School

FIRST Team 2441

*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.

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 12th year, 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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