Anything But Elementary

Molokai teams win robotics awards.

Molokai was represented by three robotics teams at the 6th Annual Hawaii FIRST LEGO League Championships last weekend – two of which brought home top honors. The FIRST competition, which stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” was held in Honolulu at the Neil Blaisdell Arena for students between the ages of 9-14.

The Forget-Me-Nots won second place in the “Gracious Professionalism” category, and the Gleeks came in first for “Most Inspirational.”

Between participating in the Molokai Charity Walk and raising $480 to donate to cancer research, the Gleeks said they are proud of their accomplishments.

“We educated not only the community, but as well as ourselves,” said eighth grader Hikilii Chow, part of the Gleeks team.

The Most Professional award was given to those who acted in a way which valued and respected others.

“Those are the core values that we believe in,” said sixth grader Makana Davis-Drennan said, Forget-Me-Nots team member.

The Forget-Me-Nots, the Gleeks and the Molokai Pharmers were among 56 teams to compete this year. They prepared and practiced for over 15 hours a week after school, beginning last May. The coaches and students involved in the project said they are happy with their results, whether they were awarded or not.

Every FIRST competition has a theme and this year’s theme was “Body Forward.” Teams were instructed to build a robot that would help the human body.

The Forget-Me-Nots built a robot that would help people with memory loss. The gadget had a built-in digital camera, which could be easily be carried around one’s neck. It could take pictures and upload the photos to a computer.

“Studies have shown if you look at pictures, you will form those memories and strengthen memory skills,” said Jenn Whitted, coach for the Forget Me Nots. “Therefore, a person experiencing memory loss would be able to get those memories back.”

A proud Whitted said that it is not all about winning. She’s especially proud of the Molokai Pharmers, who were the alternate team.

[correction] The Molokai Farmers were not alternates this year. They were alternatives last year, though.

“It’s a huge accomplishment for them to make it to states this year. I’m so proud of them,” she added.

The teams are already looking forward to next year’s competition, of which theme will be about food contamination.

“Next year, we will work even harder to make our robots more innovative. We want to get our tasks done early, so we are ready for competition,” Davis-Drennan said.

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