BY CORRIE HECK – HONOLULU – Competing among 79 of the nation’s top high school robotics teams, Waialua High School Robotics took the top honor at the exclusive Indianapolis Robotics Invitational (IRI).  The Indianapolis off-season FIRST Robotics tournament is available to teams by invitation only.

Waialua was part of a three-team alliance, with the “Beach Bots” from Los Angeles, California and Las Guerillas from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Waialua High School completed an incredibly successful 2010 FIRST Robotics season, winning the San Diego, Arizona and Hawaii Regional Competitions and competing in the division semi-finals at the World Championship in Atlanta, Geogia.

Waialua’s team was Hawai‘i’s only robotics team to be invited to compete in the 2010 IRI.  McKinley High School previously competed in IRI in 2009.

The 2011 FIRST Robotics season will kick-off January 8, 2011 with the FIRST in Hawai‘i Regional Robotics Competition on March 24-26, 2011.

FIRST is one of six major educational robotics programs in the state.  Recognizing the importance of promoting robotics at an early age and sustaining students’ interest in STEM education throughout their schooling, Hawai‘i’s six robotics programs (FIRST Robotics, Botball, Underwater ROV, VEX Robotics, Micro Robotics, FIRST LEGO League) have joined together to form the Hawai‘i Robotics Organizing Committee (ROC). As a critical component of the Hawai‘i Innovation Initiative, robotics engages students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and provides them with the teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving skills they need to compete in the 21st century workplace.

To learn more about robotics education in Hawai‘i and view photos of the competition, visit www.hawaiiroc.org.   Learn more about how to support Hawai‘i’s robotics students by contacting the Friends of Hawai‘i Robotics, a registered Hawaii non-profit corporation, via telephone at 808-738-4590.

Corrie Heck is the Chief Coordinator for the Hawai‘i Robotics Organizing Committee (ROC)

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