Fourteen new high schools across Yap, Chuuk and Pohnpei States have been equipped and trained to participate in the Western Pacific’s only high school robotics league. Throughout December of 2018, Habele Outer Island Education Fund provided technical instruction to staff and students from public and private high schools across these three states. The training workshops began in Pohnpei, and culminated in instructional sessions on the remote Woleai Atoll in Yap State. Woleai’s Neighboring Islands Central High School represents the most isolated partner school to join the robotics league, and rounds out the list of every high school across Yap State who will field a team for the 2019 Yap Robo Day.

“Most of the students we’re training have no experience with robotics,” says Amelia Weiss, Habele’s Director of STEM. “Even without background training, these young people catch on fast, and are going to do great things.”

Team members design and build their own complex robots, learning important Science, Technology, Engineering and Math skills in a hands-on way. Over the course of the coming semester, clubs will prepare to exhibit their newfound skills in “Robo Day” events, which provide an outlet for friendly competition and community interaction. Independent Robo Day competitions will be held for participants in Pohnpei, Chuuk and Yap States.

“”Each participating Pohnpei High Schools has formed their respective Robotics Clubs in their schools, and are all excited with the new program, says Russell Figueras, Vice Principal of Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School. “Building their own robots was fun and easy way of understanding programming.”

Formerly a program for high schools in Yap State, the Habele Robotics League expanded to include partners in Chuuk and Pohnpei with the help of a 2018 grant from the Office of Insular Affairs.