A chance encounter and pitch from Holualoa PTO Treasurer Kari Kimura turned into a new laptop computer from the Thirty Meter Telescope for Holualoa Elementary School's First Robotics Program.
In April and May 2011 a group of parent volunteers started Holualoa's Hale Kula robotics team. They applied for and were awarded robot kits and national registration forms through the Hawaii Robotics Organizing Committee. These grants provided four robot kits, software and registration for the Fall 2011 Challenge.
TMT's donated laptop computer has already been put into good use by the 24 students in the robotics program at the "Performance Robotics" workshop hosted by the Donkey Mill Art Center in Holualoa. This three-day workshop engaged 3rd, 4th and 5th graders to make robots cool by building Lego NXT robots and programming them to dance.
The Hale Kula Robotics program will be participating in their First Lego League competition later this month.
Kari Kimura's husband Shaun Roth is the volunteer parent coordinator for the Hale Kula Robotics program. Both Roth and Kimura are MIT trained architects in Kona.
Four high schools on Hawaii's Big Island have previously received funds from the TMT Project - Hilo High School, Kealakehe High School, Kohala High School and Waiakea High School - as well as Earl's Garage, a community-based, science-and-technology extracurricular organization in Waimea.
"Inspiration is the ultimate goal of TMT's outreach. Students' hands-on experience in technical fields will prove valuable down the road. Robotics competitions are great preparation for our young people to prepare to work in high-tech jobs such as those that the Thirty Meter Telescope will bring," said Sandra Dawson, TMT's Hawaii Manager for Community Affairs.