Student Voice of Kalaepōhaku

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Student Voice of Kalaepōhaku

The Collegian

Student Voice of Kalaepōhaku

The Collegian


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Keiki Crusaders make a Splash in Robotics Competition


Saint Louis Schools recently launched a Lower School Robotics program for elementary students in grades five and six. The new program continues to expand to include three elementary and competition teams.

The Lower School robotics program was developed with relative ease and generated a significant amount of interest. Mrs. Tatum Rathel, a fifth-grade teacher and  Lower School Robotics coach, said, “The interest was generated with the success, I think, of the middle school and high school robotics teams.”

Students of varying ages and experience levels are exposed to different types of robotics. “Students work with VEX IQ, which consists of pre-produced parts. They don’t create their parts; rather, they use the parts provided, much like Lego blocks,” explained Rathel.

There was a high level of energy and excitement among the students in the robotics program. “I was extremely excited to witness their enthusiasm,” Rathel also stated. “It was interesting and fun to see them so eager to get started. The first competition ignited a different level of drive and excitement in them to modify their robots, which is all part of the STEM learning and engineering design process.”

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This program has been a game-changer for building friendships and creating incredible experiences for teachers and students. Rathel claims that the program enhances students’ interest in learning and motivates them to perform better by giving them a sense of control and accountability.

 Students are taught the necessary skills in the classroom but are expected to take the initiative and work together as a team to complete the assigned tasks. This approach has proven highly rewarding and helped students learn valuable teamwork and leadership skills.

Landon Britton, a 5th grader, is excited about being admitted to the robotics program. He loves to build robots and showcase their abilities during competitions. Britton finds learning about gear ratios and different mechanisms engaging. 

Video games play a significant role in students’ lives, especially at a young age. “You can always customize the controls to your liking, but it becomes much more intense when you compete and operate the controls at a high level,” Britton says. 

The robotics team at the lower school level is just as competitive as the one at the high school level. Working together as a team is critical to achieving success. Max Posey, a 5th grader on the team, stated, “I like working together in a team with people that I might not have met before.”

Posey shared information about the type of robot they are developing in the shop. “We’re working on an intake lift bot with a unique intake system.” Posey further described, “The intake is capable of sucking up only the green blocks, and it has an elevator that dumps out all the blocks.”

Attending a robotics competition is just as exciting as any other sporting event. “In a swimming competition, there’s always a level of anticipation, and it’s exciting to compete against others, just like in robotics,” said Posey.

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Keola Apduhan
Keola Apduhan, Staff Writer
Keola Apduhan is a Staff Writer for The Collegian. A Crusader since the fifth grade, he sees himself as a future entrepreneur, “owning his own business. Apduhan wants to find ways to help other communities” and achieve financial success. The oldest of three brothers, his family is from Waipio, located in Central O’ahu. In Apduhan's free time, he enjoys the many things that Hawaii has to offer and adds, “I like to go hunting, ride sand, local ‘braddah kine’ stuff.”

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