KS Maui team attends VEX Robotics Pan-Pacific Championship


Jahjah the robot competes at the Maui County Fair VEX Robotics tournament on October 2.

By Ariel Kahahane, Features Editor

Seniors Maverick Matsuoka and Jaren Neizman, among others, traveled to the VEX Robotics Pan-Pacific Championship competition on O’ahu December 3-4, after placing at the Maui qualifying event. This is the first robotics team from KSM.

They faced tough competition from teams competing from as far away as China. After working for about three weeks on their competition robot, Neizman and Matsuoka placed 82nd overall.

Held at the Hawai’i Convention Center, teams used their robots to play Clean Sweep, a game in which a two-team alliance tries to place as many small, medium, and large balls into their opponent’s side of the field as they can. The event also involves maneuvering small balls into goals,according to the Robotics Organizing Committee-Hawaii Web site. After 132 qualifying matches, 24 teams advanced to the championship rounds, with first prize going to Bellarmine College Preparatory from San Jose, California.

The team first competed at the Maui County Fair VEX Robotics Tournament on October 2 at Baldwin High School. Matsuoka and Neizman worked on that qualifying robot for their senior project, beginning work before summer break began.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math – or STEM – careers are encouraged by former Hawai’i Governor Linda Lingle, and an important part of her Hawai’i Innovation Initiative, which, according to the ROC website, seeks to change Hawai’i’s economy from land-based development to one based on innovation by Hawai’i residents.

Ms. Phyllis Sone teaches the robotics class. She coordinated and attended the competitions with her students.