Madolenihmw High School has joined the Pohnpei Robo League, making it the 23rd high school in Micronesia to offer students the chance to design, build, and compete robots on their own, and in partnership with other high school teams.

Located in Pohnlangas, Madolenihmw High School (MHS) serves students in the central east of Pophnei island, to the east of Mount Nahna Laud and south of Mount Kapwuriso. NHS is also the high school closest to the ruins of Nan Madol, a series of megalithic monuments on nearly 100 artificial islets on a coral reef offshore.

Nan Madol, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The US nonprofit Habele began creating high school robotics team in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) in 2011. Since provisioning two schools in Yap that year, the league has expanded to include public and private schools across all four of the Micronesian states.

Schools in Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae States now all operate their own titular Robo Leagues, each of which culminates in a statewide public competition at the end of the school year. Habele, with the support of the Office of Insular Affairs, provides equipment, technical training, and coordination, but the learning is entirely student-driven.

Pohnpei Robo League leadership meeting at OLMCHS

“The Robo League offers students a strong grounding in problem solving” explained Habele’s founder Neil Mellen, after meeting with MHS Principal Humover Penias. “Students across the FSM, including those in more rural villages and on remote outer islands, have shown time and again robotics sparks excitement in science and math learning by making it practical and tangible.”

Madolenihmw High School in Pohnpei

MHS joined the Pohnpei Robo League in early December, as leaders from both public and private high schools met in Kolonia, Pohnpei to coordinate their plans for the remainder of the school year.

Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School’s vice principal, Russell Figueras, facilitated the Pohnpei Robo League leadership meeting, with robotics staff leads from Pohnpei Catholic High School, Calvary Christian Academy, Pohnpei Islands Central High School, Nanpei Memorial High School, and Pohnpei SDA School joining in to share lessons learned and best practices developed over the 2018-19 school year.

 Robo Team students at Pohnpei SDA School

“The introduction of Robotics at OLMCHS, and consequently the Robo League, has ignited a lot of untapped skills of our students. The students were so amazed to find out how their childhood remote controlled toys work, and were so excited to know that they themselves, in their own hands, can build the same robots” explained Russell Figueras of Our Lady of Mercy.

“Thanks to Habele, Robotics has taught our students the value of teamwork, self-confidence, the need to follow precise instructions, etc. The benefits of Robotics to our students never stop.”

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