(Yap, Micronesia) Each year since 2012, students from two independent high schools on Yap have held a “Robo Day” exhibition. The fast paced event showcases the technical accomplishments of the student robotics teams for the People of Yap. These annual Robo Day competitions at the Colonia civic center last only a few hours but reflect the hard work of students and teachers throughout the entire school year.
Soon, students from a third school –Yap Public High School– may be joining in on “Robo Day” as well.
Vex robotics teams were established at the Yap SDA School and Yap Catholic High School in the fall of 2011. The US based charity “Habele” coordinated the donation of robotics kits from students from the robotics team at Chaminade College Preparatory High School in West Hills, California. The pan-Pacific partnership included materials, instructional videos, and peer-to-peer encouragement.
Working with support from the team at Chaminade, as well as the instruction from their own schools’ teachers, the student teams at SDA and YCHS have grown steadily ever since. Members design, build, and compete mechanically complex robots, learning important Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills in a hands-on fashion. Many of the students initially involved with the teams have since graduated and moved onto higher education in STEM fields, in large part due to their experiences with the Robo League.
Now, through the generous investment of the Matson Foundation, materials and support are being provided to update and expand the Robo League. Once again American students at Chaminade have gathered and assembled materials to supply teams in Yap. These heavy and large donations have been organized by Habele, and delivered to educators on Yap through the financial support of Matson, a Pacific-wide public shipping company with a celebrated history of philanthropy and community engagement. Teams at Yap Catholic and the SDA School will be re-provisioned, and materials will be offered to educators at Yap Public High School for the creation of a new team.
Jamie Mooteb, a college-bound senior at YCHS cites the Robo League as a source of personal inspiration. "I’ve hoped to study engineering ever since joining the robotics club freshman year." "I'm really excited about the newly donated equipment,” Jamie continued. “It will be cool to have all three high schools compete. Thanks to Matson and the students at Chaminade High School for making this possible!"
Bernie Valencia, General Manager, Matson Guam, echoed Jamie’s enthusiasm. “Matson’s employees and their families are proud to partner with Habele, investing in the students and schools of Yap. Matson knows first hand how science and engineering are the key to innovation and growth; that makes the Robo League so special to us.”