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Luau To Benefit Robotics Team

It’s time to get your robotics on.

Dole Plantation is hosting its eighth annual Plantation Benefit Luau for the Waialua High School Robotics Team, and tickets are on sale now. All proceeds from the May 7 event will be used to help fund the team’s travel expenses.

The luau begins at 5:30 p.m. and features Hawaiian food and a silent auction. A highlight will be the 45-minute demonstration of robotic technology by the Waialua team.

Dole Plantation began the fundraiser in 2007. Since that first luau, the company has presented $70,000 to Waialua Robotics.

“The Dole Plantation fundraiser is the most important community event that our team participates in each year,” said Waialua High teacher and team lead coordinator Glenn Lee. “Without the generous support that we receive from the luau, our team would not be able to participate nationally in FIRST Robotics competitions, which allow our students the opportunity to participate in science-, technology-, engineering-and math-related activities.”

The Waialua team was Hawaii’s first robotics-related program, and is a national leader that was selected for the FIRST Robotics Competition “Hall of Fame” Chairman’s Award in 2011. This year, it qualified for the world championships in St. Louis, Mo. Waialua Robotics travels to competitions annually but struggles to raise needed funds.

“To paraphrase the team’s motto, Waialua Robotics does not focus on winning; it’s about learning teamwork, commitment and responsibility,” says Mike Moon, Dole Plantation director of operations. “Because of the emphasis on those keys, it has become an institution and a pathway to a bright future for kids from this community.”

Individual luau tickets cost $40 and are available through April 30 at Dole Plantation. Tickets also may be purchased through robotics team members or by calling Waialua High and Intermediate School at 637-8200.