Mililani Robotics Teams Shine At State Championships

Students at Mililani Mauka Elementary have proven they know a thing or two about robotics.

The fourth-grade Robotechs won the Project Award at the Nov. 3 Holomua District Tournament and went on to the State Robotics Championship Dec. 1 at Blaisdell Center, where they placed first for the Presentation Award and received a trophy made out of LEGOs.


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Mililani Robotechs Kara Eto, Baylie Rodrigues, Cade Tanaka, Paige Ho, Casey Morishige and Michael Taylor show off the awards they earned Dec. 1 at the State Robotics Championship. Photo from Lori Jakahi.

Also, the fifth-grade Maukabots were named District Champion at the Mililani District Tournament Nov. 3 and earned an automatic invitation to the Dec. 1 FIRST LEGO League (FLL) State Championship.

These accomplishments have Robotechs’ coaches Dave Morishige and Cynthia Takemoto and Maukabots’ coaches Lori Jakahi, Scott Miyagi and Krissy Barrett-Grahovac pleased with the students’ efforts.

“It’s exciting to watch young students be so excited about math and science,”

Miyagi said. “What I want most for our students to take away from being a part of robotics are the additional skill sets beyond math and science that they acquired.

“While many aspects of robotics are technical in nature, these students learned how to function successfully as a team and build collaborative leadership skills. In the end, I hope they see that by working together, their little ideas can make a big impact on innovation and society.”

The purpose of FLL is to stimulate students (ages 9-14) to think through problem-based research and a robotics competition, while creating a passion for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Takemoto explained that there are three aspects to the FLL competition: Project Presentation, Robot Game and Core Values.

The Project Presentation focuses on the theme, and students create a presentation that shares the research and innovative solution.

The Robot Game is where students build and design robots, then learn to program the robots to solve missions.

The Core Values focuses on teamwork.

According to Jakahi, this year’s FLL theme was Senior Solutions. “Students explored the topic of aging and how it affects a person’s ability to maintain his or her lifestyle. They then focused on a real-life issue for seniors, and came up with an innovative solution to the problem,” she said.

Each student gave insight as to how robotics will help them as they get older:

Kylie Takamoto, Maukabots: “Robotics will help me in the future because I can now work better with others.”

Justin Jakahi, Maukabots: “I think robotics will help me when I am older because I can solve problems and find the answers on my own.”

Taryn Kaneko, Maukabots: “Robotics will help me in life because it taught me teamwork. When I play on the soccer field, I know how to communicate and be a better team player.”

Alexander Armenti, Maukabots: “Robotics helps to prepare me for the future by using technology and teamwork skills.”

Taylor DeCastro, Maukabots. “I know how to work with others, and I can program the Mindstorm robots.”

Tyson DeCastro, Maukabots: “Robotics helps me to learn math, and I was introduced to new technology that will help me get a better job.”

Shadrack Nabea Jr., Maukabots: “It will help me because the skills I learned can be put to good use. I learned how to work in a team and to communicate, and it is important because I may have a job where I have to be a team member.”

Evan Araki, Maukabots: “I think it will help me because now I know that I can have fun doing what I like and not give up when things get difficult.”

Taylor Oyama, Maukabots: “It helped me with my teamwork skills. In the future, I plan on playing on a volleyball team and my teamwork skills that I learned through this FLL season will help me to communicate and work with my teammates well.”

Casey Morishige, Robotechs: “It will help me because I know how to work well with people.”

Baylie Rodrigues, Robotechs: “It will help me so I know how to work with other people, and I can use what I learned in the classroom.”

Kara Eto, Robotechs: “I now listen to ideas from others and not just go with my idea, because we might be able to combine ideas to create a solution.”

Cade Tanaka, Robotechs: “In the future, I can work together better with other people.”

Paige Ho, Robotechs: “In the future, I can know how to work with other people without doing mean things.”

Michael Taylor, Robotechs: “Robotics will help me to work well with others.”