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Windward // Windward Oahu Coverstory
Christina O’Connor

Kailua’s Robot Wins Spot In LEGO Finals

Kailua Intermediate School robotics students (from left) Caleb Jones, Leah Mills, Samuel Cadotte, Koby Omizo and Tucker Erickson qualified Nov. 2 for the state FIRST LEGO League competition with their retractable ocean wall device. Photo from Lisa DeLong.

Kailua Intermediate School robotics students (from left) Caleb Jones, Leah Mills, Samuel Cadotte, Koby Omizo and Tucker Erickson qualified Nov. 2 for the state FIRST LEGO League competition with their retractable ocean wall device. Photo from Lisa DeLong.

A team of Kailua Intermediate students passed a qualifying event Nov. 2 at Kapolei Middle School for the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO League robotics competition and is now preparing for next month’s state competition.

“We were just thrilled,” said principal Lisa DeLong. “But my main message was just for them to have fun.”

Samuel Cadotte, Tucker Erickson, Caleb Jones, Leah Mills and Koby Omizo designed and built a robot to respond to challenges under the competition’s theme, Nature’s Fury. They had to select a natural disaster and come up with a way to prevent, stop or repair damage it caused. The result is a retractable ocean wall to mitigate the damage from a tidal wave. They also had to present their research orally.

This marks the first time that a KIS team has participated in a FIRST LEGO League challenge, and two other teams from the school are set to compete in qualifying events later this month.

Participants are enrolled in a robotics class, which is one of more than 25 options in the KIS exploratory program that also offers Spanish, digital media, drawing and painting, and aquaponics. The idea is to introduce young minds to possible career choices.

“We are really trying to promote a college-going culture and have kids really start thinking about their futures,” DeLong explained. “We want them to understand all the different career opportunities and to start developing the skills in those areas.

“If they don’t do it this early, sometimes it’s too late. Piquing their interest at this age is important because it is a real pivotal time for young people.”

Robotics also should boost interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), so KIS also launched an engineering course recently.

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