Manoa Elementary whiz kids take top honors at international robotics competition

MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Sixteen fourth- and fifth-graders at Manoa Elementary School rock at robotics. They make up the The Manoa Green Tigers robotics squad.

The STEM students designed and built award-winning robots that they showcased at the VEX IQ international competition.

"They've actually been working on weekends, holidays, after school. With that hard work you can see what they were able to accomplish," school principal Kerry Higa said.

On May 1 in Louisville, Manoa captured the biggest prize at the tournament, where 400 teams from all around the world were competing. VEX IQ is the biggest international robotics competition.

"Everyone was happy," fourth-grader Rylan Gubatan said. "We were all running up to the stage to receive the award."

The team took the VEX IQ Excellence Award, the tournament's highest award.

"We were so excited and we were very glad we won the award," team member Katelyn Kato said.

To win, Manoa had to make oral presentations on their projects, answer judges' questions, and score high in multiple categories.

"They had of course their robots, which included programming and student performances on the robots," Higa said.

"I knew we tried our best. Selected or not I knew we did a good job," Kato said.

This was the second time Manoa Elementary sent a team to the world title showcase..

The school's STEM and robotics programs are growing and getting kids to look ahead.

"I want to be an astronaut that programs the rockets and spaceships that go into space," Gubatan said.

"We're hoping that these kids take this opportunity and take the knowledge that they gain and the hard work that they put in and apply that to the rest of their lives so that they can be world changers," Higa said.

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