Molokai High School Robotics Team Wins Rookie Award at Houston Robotics Competition


Seven-strong team from Molokai High School in Hawaii competed and won the Rookie All-Star Award in the Houston Robotics Competition / Photo by: North Charleston via Wikimedia Commons


The seven-member team from Molokai High School has successfully clinched the Rookie All-Star award after being able to compete, thanks to donations that poured in that eventually gave them the chance to fly to Houston.

According to Maui News, the donations had been enough and were from “fellow robotics team and dozens of community supporters.” Upon arriving and competing in Houston, they had managed to come home with the Hopper-Turing Division Rookie Inspiration Award, and their appearance there was momentous, too, what with it actually being the first time the school achieved world championship level.

And their recognized talents have already been proven before too. Prior to their recent win in Houston, the team has also managed to win a month ago in the 12th annual FIRST Robotics Competition in Hawaii for the regional category.

After winning a $5,000 grant from NASA when they earned the Engineering Inspiration award, the prize was then donated to Molokai. With a GoFundMe also set up, the school was able to amass about $13,075 in three weeks, enough money to cover “entry fees, flights, lodging, transportation and meals” for all of them.

Thankful and still nursing that good kind of shock from winning the competition in Houston, Molokai robotics teacher Edwin Mendija shared on Saturday how the participants had intimidated some in the seven-member team, but after successfully being able to ace the challenge of a game called “destination: deep space” in which they had to “use their robot to place a series of plastic disks and balls into scoring docks,” the team managed to win four consecutive times with the help of their alliances.

“We kind of underestimated ourselves,” he explained. “We figured since we were rookies, we would let the other people play more of their game and try to adjust our strategy around theirs. We probably should’ve played what we were strong at the whole time.”