Yap Catholic High School, the most veteran of participants in the FSM-wide Habele Robotics League, has been promoting robotics to other high schools across Yap State for a decade. This year, the school pioneered a new model for the annual “Yap Robo Day,” a public exhibition in which robotics clubs from across Yap and its Neighboring Islands demonstrate their STEM accomplishments in a series of competitive challenges. In past years, participating schools gathered in a central location for a single afternoon, maneuvering their robots through rounds of timed challenges until a champion emerged. 

This year, Yap Catholic invited other public and private high schools to their campus for “Yap Robo Week,” an intensive five-day exercise in training, creative robotics design, and collaboration between staff and students from different schools. 

Teams pooled spare parts, tools and knowledge over the course of the week to build personalized robots equipped for the final challenge. The final competition was an arena filled with small plastic balls, and baskets of varying heights, each bucket representing different point values. Teams had two and a half minutes to score as many points as possible, by maneuvering their robot to place as many balls as possible in the various buckets. No design restrictions were placed on the size of the robots used, and teams spent the days leading up to the competition adjusting designs to focus on maximizing scores. 

When the dust settled on the Yap Robo Day 2022, the champions spot was awarded to Yap Catholic High School, with second place going to Outer Islands High School, and third place to Yap High School. The 2022 Robo Day welcomed a new participant in Pacific Missionary Aviation’s homeschool students, who laid the groundwork for strong performances in competitions to come. 

This was the final competition for some Yap Catholic students, after years of participation. “With my two years of joining the Robotics club, I have come to learn that you can do so much more when you are in a team, “ says Chastity Minginug, a 2022 graduate of Yap Catholic and Habele Scholar. ”Team work is an essential part when we work together and I believe that Robotics will be a fun experience for everyone if given the chance.” 

Habele, a US nonprofit enables and equips high schools in the Robo League across all four of the Federated States of Micronesia. Habele was founded by former Peace Corps volunteers who taught in Micronesia. The nonprofit first introduced robotics to Micronesia in 2011. The Habele Robo League provides students in some of the world’s most remote island communities the opportunity for hands on learning and problem solving with today’s technology. 

Support from the US Government comes through the Office of Insular Affair, which provides technical assistance funding for development projects in Micronesia. Habele’s Robo League is growing the knowledge and skills of future island leaders, and deepening the historic bonds of the US-FSM partnership.

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