MONTREAL, CANADA (HawaiiNewsNow) - After a rocky start in the great white north, the Waialua High School robotics team has managed to take the top title at the 2018 Festival de Robotique in Montreal.
The students were overall tournament champions. They bested 54 other teams, including one team from Brazil, with their robot "Poi Pounder XIX Wave Rider."
The Waialua team also won the Industrial Design Award sponsored by GM.
Robotics teams participated in a series of challenges that gauged their robot's ability to perform functions like lifting, grabbing and climbing objects. Only four of the 30 members of the Waialua High School's robotics team were present at the event.
The team was led by the program's coach, engineer and project director Glenn Lee, who is up for a global teaching award in Dubai.
"I think that a lot of people fail to realize what (Lee) has done with this team," said Sean Lunasco, special projects director for the Waialua robotics team. "What he's doing with our little program and resources is miraculous to say the least."
Lee is vying for the Varkey Foundation's 2018 Global Teacher Prize, which he says is equivalent to the Nobel Peace Prize of teaching.
Out of about 30,000 applicants from more than 170 countries, Lee has made it to the top 10 finalists, and is the only teacher representing the United States this year.
The Waialua robotics team had a rough start in Canada after their rental car was burglarized before the competition even started. Luckily, their robot "Poi Pounder" was safely in their hotel room.
"What the team is doing on a global scale is mind-blogging," Lunasco said. "There aren't many people who can say that they are part of something like that."