Manoa, HAWAII - Hawaii’s top middle and high school robotics teams battled it out on Saturday at the 2019 Hawaiian Electric Companies’ Hawai?i State VEX VRC Robotics Championship at the University of Hawaii, Manoa Campus Center Ballroom.  Participation in the state championship is by invitation only through team qualifications at regional level tournaments or leagues, and spots for 36 teams are available.

The state competition will qualify five teams to advance to the 2019 VEX Worlds in Louisville, Kentucky in April where they will compete with more than 1,200 of the top, student-led teams from around the world. The winners are:

Highlands Intermediate Team 394A (which also won the VEX Excellence Award for Middle School)
Na Paniolo Team 2460A from Kohala High
Hawaiian Kids Team 359A from Waialua High & Intermediate School (which also won the VEX Excellence Award for High School)
Sacred Hearts Academy Team 2437A (which also won a Design Award)
Pearl City High School Team 4142B (which also placed as the Robot Skills Champion)

 “Artificial intelligence, automation, and robotics are transforming jobs and the workplace,” said Art Kimura of the Hawai?i Space Grant Consortium, which helps organize the state competition. “VEX robotics students have the opportunity to apply their science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills in an engaging game-based engineering challenge while gaining valuable life lessons such as collaboration, problem-solving, time management, and critical thinking.”  

 The 2019 VEX game challenge is called “Turning Point,” and is played between two team alliances of two teams each (a red and a blue team) on a 12’ x 12’ square field. The object of the game is to attain a higher score than the opposing alliance by maneuvering the robot to perform specific actions, autonomously or driver-controlled, during a series of matches. 

Since 2013, the Hawaiian Electric Companies have presented the VEX State Championships to advance STEM education and curriculum and promote interest in STEM careers among Hawaii students. About 25 to 50 employees volunteer with team registration, field reset and queing, and judging each year.