World-class training for robotics students in Yap


Yap Seventh-Day Adventist students and teachers take part in the Yap Robo League training. (Contributed Photo)

COLONIA, Yap—Island students have been receiving high tech training in the design and construction of robots as the five high schools of the Yap Robo League work toward their goal of a statewide robotics competition next spring.

Amelia Weiss, Habele’s director of STEM Programs, first met with participating school leaders in Yap in early December. A series of workshops, site visits, and peer-to-peer trainings followed. Administrators, teachers, and select students from Yap High School, Outer Islands High School, Yap Catholic High School, Yap SDA School, and Faith Christian Academy participated throughout.

In addition to the five participating high schools, staff from the Yap State Public Service Corp. and Pacific Missionary Aviation joined each of the training sessions. These local industry partners are also building robots in preparation for the all Yap State “Robo Day” scheduled for May 22, 2018.

“It’s clear the students and teachers are highly motivated,” said Weiss between meetings. “They have the drive, the equipment is coming in, and now we are providing the technical support to help them meet their goals.”

Stateside, students and teachers at South River High School in Edgewater, Maryland learned about their peers in Yap. The Power Hawks Robotics Club hosted Habele’s president, Scott Leis, who spoke to the team about the Federated States of Micronesia, Yap State, Micronesian culture and the Compacts of Free Association, which formally link the Freely Associated States to the U.S. Leis also answered questions from students about how they could support the students at their partner school, Yap Public High School.

“The students at South River High School were eager to learn all about the Western Pacific,” said Leis. “Few realized the geographical realities of life on a remote archipelago or that there is a long-standing, formal relationship between the FSM and [the] U.S.” 

On the U.S. West Coast, students of the Eagle Engineering Robotics Club at Chaminade College Preparatory High School packed a dozen boxes of donated robotics parts. These will be sent to Yap Catholic High School, which will distribute the equipment to the five participating schools across Yap. This donation compliments scores of supplies that Habele has already sent this year, thanks to a technical assistance program grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs.

“We are thrilled to be helping our peers in the Pacific,” said coach Tommy Smeltzer of Eagle Engineering. “Since 2011, we’ve been proud to support the teams of the Yap Robo League through donations and technical support, and it is especially exciting to see the league continue to grow and thrive.” (PR)

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