This May, students from public and private schools across Pohnpei gathered at the Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School gymnasium for the 5th Annual Pohnpei Robo Day. This yearly exhibition of applied Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) allows students to demonstrate their creative problem-solving skills in friendly competition with peers.
Five teams went head-to-head with the robots constructed by each robotics club, maneuvering the machines through a series of timed challenges for points, with the final match determining the Robo Day Champion and runner up.
Pohnpei Island Central School’s team (PICS) entered the 2023 competition with the momentum of having recently competed internationally at the FIRST Global International Robotics Challenge in Switzerland. In 2022, the PICS team represented the entire FSM at the challenge, placing highly among the other small nations competing. This year, however, home field advantage carried the day, and Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School kept the Champion’s trophy.
The team placements were:
First – Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School
Second – Pohnpei Island Central School
Third – Pohnpei Catholic School
Fourth – Nanpei Memorial High School
Fifth – Calvary Christian Academy
A new challenge is already in the works for next year’s Robo Day, requiring all robotics clubs to start from scratch in designing a robot to compete.
The Robo League is uniquely student-driven, allowing students to explore and experiment with complex technologies and concepts in a hands on way. Robo Day challenges give all participants the opportunity to apply knowledge and skills to tough problems, and come up with creative and effective solutions. Even students who might not see themselves as “math and science types” can be drawn in to engage a lifelong love of STEM.
“The young people at Robo Day will grow up to help lead the FSM,” says Matt Coleman, Habele’s Director of Operations. “The Robo League is helping them develop the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in a world driven by STEM innovation.”
The Robo League was introduced to Pohnpei in 2018 by Habele, a US nonprofit founded by former Peace Corps volunteers who taught in Micronesia. Habele first introduced robotics to Micronesia in 2011, and has trained and supported participating high schools across all four FSM states through a technical assistance partnership with the Office of Insular Affairs.