2014 Is A Banner School Year For Hale Kula Robotics Team
By VERA YAMANAKA
Special to Central Oahu Islander
Hale Kula Elementary School’s robotics team had many reasons to celebrate this school year. The Cyborg Eagles began the year by competing at the district level in FIRST Lego League’s “Nature’s Fury” competition.
Their Express Bot tackled challenges such as getting an airplane to glide, reuniting pets with people, and traveling over rough terrain.
Their success qualified the team to compete at the state tournament last December. The team won second place in the project portion for their innovative solution of creating a website and a quick response code to inform tourists of the dangers of tsunamis.
The Cyborg Eagles team members are Brianna Lebron, Caleb Hagemaster, Christopher Leon, Jack Duncan, Alexandra Duffy, Jamie Nena, Joshua Honeycutt and Kennedy Pemberton.
A week after the FLL State Tournament, Leon, Hagemaster and Duffy battled other robots in the Hawaii Middle School VEX Championship. The team made it to the elimination round, becoming the only elementary school to do so.
In January Lebron, Nena and Pemberton operated their robot in the first VEX IQ. The team programmed their Clawbot to run on its own and scored points in the
Programming Skills, while testing their driving skills in the Robot Skills. The girls’ scores in the Robot Skills qualified them to compete at the state level.
Facing off against teams from all over the state in February at Pearlridge Center, their skills led them to the elimination round. Their documentation in their engineering notebook and construction of their robot earned them the Design Award, which also qualified the team to compete in April at the 2014 VEX World Championship in Anaheim, Calif.
Hale Kula was one of eight schools representing Hawaii in the World Championship, where only 8 percent of all teams that compete internationally qualify.
“There were a lot more people, cameras and lights when we were competing in the matches in the dome,” said Lebron about her experience.
The Cyborg Eagles competed against other Leilehua Complex Area teams in Wahiawa Middle School’s 2014 Elementary School Competition. The team earned three trophies for placing first in the Lego Maze, VEX IQ Beanbag and Lego Pom Pom Challenges. Joining the rest of the team were third-graders Jeffrey Bowman, Paisley Williams, Conner Elser, Caiden Lock, Tatiana Nena and Caitlynn Vestal.