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Lahaina Nerd Convention shines at Lego League Challenge

By Staff | Nov 26, 2010

The Lahaina Nerd Convention, members of Lahaina Intermediate School’s Robotics Club, advanced to the state Lego League Challenge on Dec. 11 on Oahu.

LAHAINA — The Lahaina Nerd Convention was stunned when they learned that they won a prize at the First Lego League Challenge.

“The team was in shock,” said Lahaina Intermediate School teacher Anh Arakawa.

“When they announced our names, the students sat in the audience and just looked at each other. I had to yell, ‘Stand up you guys — you did it!’ Students ran down towards the front of the stage and humbly accepted the recognition.”

The LIS Robotics Club entered two teams — Lahaina Nerd Convention and Force Flex Engineers — in the challenge on Nov. 6 at Maui High School.

Each Lego League Challenge has two events: the Robot Game and the project.

In the Robot Game, students program an autonomous robot to score points on a themed playing field. This year’s theme is “Body Forward.”

In the project, the team develops a solution to a problem they have identified.

“The Lahaina Nerd Convention project was based on nanobee technology to cure cancer. Bee venom has been proven to target certain cancerous tumors,” said Arakawa, who coaches the team with Tom Norton.

“The students were quite creative in their presentation. They dressed as bees, doctors and cancer patients, singing and acting their way through their presentation. They created their own lyrics to the songs that they recorded on ‘Garage Band.’ “

The Lego League Challenge teaches students how to create and program Lego robots to complete certain tasks.

“Students gained research and technology skills in utilizing various computer software programs to create music and video for the project,” Arakawa explained.

“Students also learned a lifelong skill of collaborating and working together towards a common goal.”

With its top six finish, Lahaina Nerd Convention — Kari Hashimura, Nicole Aceret, Sophia Fredy, Anis Bel, Kyle Shultz, Nathaniel Heath, Angel Calderon, Cooper Vanderlaan, Tahjan Kruck and Aaron Jay Cruz — qualified for the state competition on Dec. 11 on Oahu.

Team members have been perfecting the missions and programs for the Robot Challenge and creating a video to be shown on the Internet for the project phase of the competition.

The students are also “fundraising furiously” to take ten team members and two coaches to the state contest.

To make a monetary donation, call Norton or Arakawa at 662-3965 or send a check to Lahaina Intermediate School, Attention: Anh Arakawa, 871 Lahainaluna Road, Lahaina, HI 96761

“Your support is greatly appreciated! Thank you for supporting the future technology leaders of tomorrow,” Arakawa concluded.