The 2018 Waialua Robotics Program was honored on the Senate Floor during Education Week, a time when we acknowledge top performing teachers, administrators, school innovators and successful educational programs.
Fresh from their most recent success at the FIRST Festival de Robotique Regional Championship in Montreal, Canada, our champions took time out from their preparations at the FIRST Robotics Hawaii Regional at UH Manoa to join our presentation.
While in Montreal, the team had to struggle through some unexpected adversity when thieves broke into their car, stole several pieces of equipment, personal items and one student's passport. Fortunately, "Poi Pounder," their robot, was safe at the hotel.
Waialua Robotics, also known as Team 359, the Hawaiian Kids, has long been a leader in robotic innovation and competitiveness throughout the nation and internationally. Since 1999, when Waialua became the original FIRST Robotics program in Hawaii, they have built more than 60 robots and won nearly 300 awards during some 100 competitions.
Included in their accolades is the distinguished Chairman’s Award, won in 2011, which is the highest award a team can win. They truly exemplify their team motto: "It's not about winning...It's about teamwork, commitment, and responsibility"
Glenn Lee, the program administrator and a founding member of the program, had just returned from Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, where he was one of ten finalists in the Global Teacher Prize. In its fourth year, this prize rewards one exceptional educator, out of 30,000 applicants from 170 countries, with $1,000,000. Although the top prize went to a teacher in England, we salute Mr. Lee for earning a top ten position amongst such a qualified field of educators.
Accepting an honorary certificate and acknowledgment by the Senate were team members Abraham Shell, Anthony Miyataki, and Toshio Yoshizumi, Coach Glenn Lee, and Graphics Mentor Victoria Pescaia. Congratulations to all the members of the 2018 Team 359!