Maui News

American Savings Bank Invests $10K in Moloka’i Robotics

February 15, 2017, 7:39 AM HST
* Updated February 15, 7:41 AM
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Moloka’i Robotics Program receives $10,000 from ASB.

American Savings Bank has invested $10,000 in the Moloka’i Robotics Program, expanding the program’s reach to local high school students.

Currently, the Moloka’i Robotics Program serves only Moloka’i Middle School. ASB’s $10,000 grant is instrumental in expanding this critical program to ensure continued education and hands-on experience in robotics and STEM for Moloka’i youth, grades 6-12.

The Moloka’i Robotics Program provides students opportunities to interact with hardware and software including VEX robotics, computer assisted design, computer science, Google Suite Android operating system app development and digital media.

The program stresses 21st century skills such as teamwork, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity. Once operational, the high school program will allow for continuity from middle school through high school and provide additional opportunities for students to advance their STEM skills and knowledge.

“At ASB, we look for opportunities to support innovative educational programs and to provide Hawaii’s students with valuable skills that will help drive our economy,” said Rich Wacker, president and CEO, American Savings Bank. “The Moloka’i Robotics Program meets all these criteria and more, providing the island’s youth with 21st century skills that will allow students to reach great new heights in the classroom and beyond.”

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In the expanded Moloka’i Robotics Program, teachers, volunteers and students will closely collaborate to learn from the successes of the middle school program and instill best practices into the new high school program.

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“I am excited to have the chance to continue being a part of the Moloka’i Robotics Program in high school,” said Maria Angst, an incoming freshman at Moloka’i High School. “I love building robots and designing apps, and I can’t wait to take what I learned about STEM in middle school and continue to advance in high school.”

ASB made the grant to the Kina’ole Foundation whose mission is to educate, advance, and promote the economic development of the people of Hawai’i through educational and business development activities and programs, with Native Hawaiians as the principal beneficiary.

In 2013, the Kina’ole Foundation launched a STEM program at Moloka’i Middle School that resulted in the creation of a VEX IQ Robotics program. The program currently has three teams, Team Kalo, Team Menehune and Team Naiwa.

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The teams have competed in and won multiple state tournaments, including placing first in 2014, second place in 2015 and first place in 2016. The teams were recognized at the VEX Robotics World Championship competitions in 2014 and 2016. In February 2017, the teams will compete in the Hawai’i VEX IQ State Middle School Championship on O’ahu.

ASB supports initiatives that promote educational excellence, strengthen families and foster economic growth through donations, sponsorships, grants and scholarships. More than just financial giving, ASB is committed to giving time, work, best ideas and leadership to causes that are important to the health and well-being of Hawai’i.

ASB’s Seeds of Service teammate volunteer program encourages support of community service projects at all levels to benefit school and nonprofit organizations in neighborhoods on each island. Through Seeds of Service, ASB has donated 22,000 hours of volunteer service and millions of dollars to worthy causes statewide.

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