Maui Preparatory Academy’s robotics team–the iPueo–has qualified to go to the World Robotics Championships, quite a feat for a new team. The 6th and 7th graders of the iPueo team came together just three months ago under the guidance of teacher and coach Branden Hazlet, Director of Technology for Maui Prep.
In that short time, the iPueo worked its way up to a 28 ranking in Robot Driving Skills among the thousands of Middle School robotics teams across the world.
The team went to the University of Hawaii Hilo Astronaut Onizuka Robotics Competition with hopes of only building a little experience for next year’s robotics season. Instead, the team ended up qualifying for the State VexIQ Championships based on a First Place award for Robot Design and a Second Place finish in Robotics Programming.
According to a team spokesperson, the iPueo then headed to the State Championships in February with only a “long shot” being they were such a “newbie” team. But at the State competition, the iPueo earned another first place award for Robot Design, a third place finish in Robot Driver Skills and third in the Finalist Round.
With the various scores and rankings considered, the Maui Prep team was awarded the highest Middle School honor in the state–the Excellence Award–which qualified them for the World Championships. Though they worked hard for the honor, team members reportedly never expected to take the State Title and qualify for World Competition at this juncture in the team’s history.
Having achieved such rapid success has created a bit of a funding challenge for the students in order for them to take advantage of the opportunity to compete in the four-day 2015 VEX World Championships which will include nearly 800 teams from more than 400 VEX Robotics Competition tournaments.
The iPueo team has begun fund-raising efforts to help send the students and their teacher to the Championships to represent the excellent young minds of Hawaii. If members of the public are interested in helping to send the iPueo to this international event, please contact Branden Hazlet at firstname.lastname@example.org, via ipueo.myevent.com or by phone at 808-665-9966. You can also order your own iPueo logo hat, shirt, or your own custom robot at the website above.
Photo courtesy of Maui Prep Academy