Micronesia's Robotic Olympians Training, Fundraising

Reprinted with permission from Kaselehlie Press, Volume 17, Issue 10

Micronesia's famously traditional Island of Stone Money is sending top students to a high tech global robotics competition this summer. The team, their teachers, and a network of supporters, are working hard to ensure they arrive on time, properly equipped, and prepared to compete.

Support the team at GoFundMe.com/YapRobo

The FIRST Global Challenge is a worldwide robotics competition scheduled for mid-July in Washington DC.  Small student teams design, build, and compete complex robots from simple parts. Featuring over 150 teams from across the planet, it also serves as a forum for students to meet and partner with diverse international peers.

Photo: Robo League All-Stars John Steven, Natasha, and Cisco are headed to DC. Support them online right now at GoFundMe.com/YapRobo

"We are proud to have Micronesia attend FIRST Global -a beautiful country too often overlooked due to distance and size, and yet so eager to participate in our international event," exclaimed former Congressman and retired Admiral Joe Sestak, organizer the event "Famous for having used star navigation throughout the ages to travel across the Pacific, Micronesia is a vivid example that when there is a passion you are willing to feed and a thirst for knowledge you are eager to quench, there is no limit to the amazing things you can achieve."

Photo: T-shirts with the Robo League Mascot are being sold to raise money for the team.

The hard work of the Micronesian students in their technical preparations is matched only by the simultaneous efforts to raise money needed for their trip. For the competition the team must switch to an entirely new type of robot. Mastering the bots will take enormous commitment from students and teachers at Yap Catholic High School, winners of the 2016 Yap Robo Day competition. It also requires four round trip airplane tickets from Yap to Washington DC.

Photo: Winners of 2016 Robotics Day, YCHS Team before the competition. Support them online right now at GoFundMe.com/YapRobo

“Our students' innovation and creativity has blossomed so quickly through our STEM and Robotics Program in large part due to our limited resources, said Michael Wiencek, Principal of Yap Catholic High School. “My favorite part of every year is when new students are following the step-by-step guide to build a basic prototype and they ask ‘Mr. Wiencek, we don't have these parts. What do we do?’  To see their faces go from frustration, to contemplation, to excitement when I simply respond, ‘Get creative with what we have,’ will never get old.”

Photo: Jose Escotto, Liz Twigg, Anisha Hindocha, and Jake of FIRST Global sporting their Yap Robo League shirts from Team Micronesia!

The sense of pride, accomplishment and ownership, is spreading from student and community members, to those who are helping to raise money and awareness. “We should be proud of these kids, who’ve been at it since 2011,” wrote Lee Weber, former president and publisher of the Pacific Daily News on Guam. “And also proud of the league and their only current private non-government supporter, Matson, and its monetary and equipment donations. 

“This is a great opportunity for these young Micronesian students,” continued Weber.  “Let's not allow students to shoulder this opportunity alone,” stressed Weber in his PDN editorial column, urging readers to pitch in. You can learn more about the team, the competition, and the fundraising to support them online right now at GoFundMe.com/YapRobo