Chairman’s Essay – 2016

Chairman’s Award  – 2016

Team Number
3880

Team Name, Corporate/University Sponsors
NASA, BAE Systems, Friends of Hawaii Robotics, Maui Economic Development Board, Ace Hardware, UH Manoa
College of Engineering, Thirty Meter Telescope, HELCO, Oceanic Time Warner Cable, ABC Stores, Andy Mark,
Robotics Organizing Committee(ROC), Cyanotech, / Society of Women Engineers & KEALAKEHE HIGH SCHOOL

Briefly describe the impact of the FIRST program on team participants with special emphasis on the 2015/2016 year and the preceding two to five years
Our team motto motto kulia i ka nu’u (strive for the summit)motivates our Tiki Techs to develop personal opportunities,
deepen their skills base, and empower our rural community. Our team’s diverse composition (balanced gender ratio,
more than 12 different ethnic heritages, majority of team economically disadvantaged, and some students with special
education needs) empowers us to find innovative, effective, and creative solutions to a wide variety of problems.

Describe the impact of the FIRST program on your community with special emphasis on the 2015/2016 year and the preceding two to five years
The Tiki Techs host over 40 events annually for the community outreaching to over 5,000 people. The team holds
creating a better future for the community’s youth as a moral imperative. For the last 4 years, we have hosted 4 large,
annual community events: Hawaii Island Robotics Exploration & Showcase (HIRES), FRC Showcase/Crate Signing, a
Spring Ho’ike, & our Kona STEM Camp. We have hosted 4 STEM camps in which elementary & middle school students
learn STEM & robotics.

Team’s innovative or creative method to spread the FIRST message
Team 3880 strives to expand the mission & core values of FRC in our community as a conduit for expanding the social
and economic opportunities for our society. Every Presidents’ Day weekend, the Tiki Techs hold an annual crate
signing event and steak fry fundraiser to share our excitement before shipping to competition. Like all of our events, we
use social media, studentmade
posters, radio & newspaper ads, and our large email list to engage the community.

Describe examples of how your team members act as role models and inspire other FIRST team members to emulate
The Tiki Techs discovered the true meaning of being a role model with the launching of our Kona STEM Camps. KSC
teaches all of our team members to be responsible for themselves & others. Our Tiki Tech camp counselors work with
scientific & hightech
professional communities inspiring us to advance our leadership, communication, & technical
skills. STEM Camp makes our members dedicated role models by sharing our skills and knowledge with 100+ young
minds through a week of STEMtastic adventures.

Describe the team’s initiatives to help start or form other FRC teams
The Tiki Techs work with neighbor schools regularly to develop robotics programs. We support over 15 programs within
8 schools & are frequently contacted to help other teams. We have mentors working with teams in NY, California, Texas,
& Japan. Every high school on our island has had a FRC program. Due to the limited population & extremely isolated
rural community, 5 teams have discontinued their programs; we are working to provide funding for them to start back up
again.

Describe the team’s initiatives to help start or form other FIRST teams (including Jr.FLL, FLL, & FTC)
In addition to supporting schools in West Hawaii, our alumni are working in Oahu, New York, & Japan to help mentor
teams & help start more robotics programs. Our team is very active in supporting ROV & Botball programs as well as
starting up new engineering programs for our community, like TARC & bridge contests. We work with schools to
develop FLL, Jr. FLL, & VEX IQ teams, securing funding to provide robot kids, host tours, and house a competition
practice room staffed by our students.

Describe the team’s initiatives on assisting other FIRST teams (including Jr.FLL, FLL, FTC, & FRC)
with progressing 
through the FIRST program
FIRST evokes a new level of success with each season; multiple progressive ideas arose in the past seasons. We
wanted to create an application that would scan the program & create autonomous programs for any robot competing,
while bringing our AutoinaMinute
application to competitions. We assist other FRC teams by bringing mentors
specifically designated for helping other teams in need at competitions. We have also taken in students from other
schools after their FRC programs closed.

Describe how your team works with other FIRST teams to serve as mentors to younger or less experienced FIRST teams
(includes Jr.FLL, FLL, FTC, & FRC teams)

FIRST kickoff holds true tradition in our program: with every Tiki Tech piled into the robotics room, kickoff
greets us before the sun does. We learn and engage in the new rules, educating ourselves on the season’s game.
We always invite neighboring teams to join us while having fun sharing our ideas & learning with them.
Our team leads a West Hawaii Tech Community FRC Robotics Design Review annually at NELHA.

Describe your Corporate/University Sponsors
Sponsors are an important aspect of teams, & at Kealakehe, they’re our Ohana. We have an innovative, culturally based
donor system the Ahupua’a of Giving that celebrates sustainable partnerships & addresses our program’s
needs. Our program applauds all donations: all donors receive a special gift package. We’ve received financial support
from over 500 individuals, foundations, & corporations; a key example of which is our Feed the Robotics program
which feeds the team from local restaurants.

Describe the strength of your partnership with your sponsors with special emphasis on the 2015/2016 year
and the 
preceding two to five years
The Tiki Tech team has a strong relationship with several strategic partners. We have several dozen $1000+ partners
who give to our program annually, and 6 $25,000+ private donations that have established our professional machine
shop & design building. To foster these relationships, we host donor events, send competition postcards & gift
packages, & assemble alumni updates to share the impact of their donation on our students.

Describe how your team would explain what FIRST is to someone who has never heard of it
FIRST unites, inspires, & nourishes students in exploration of the future of science and technology. Each year, FRC
releases a new & exciting game to challenge students to work collaboratively in creating innovative, effective, elegant,
& entertaining robots for competition. FIRST not only challenges students to work together to design & fabricate a robot,
it offers students the opportunity to unite, meet, & interact with teams from their region, nation, & all over the world.

Briefly describe other matters of interest to the FIRST judges, if any
This year the Kealakehe Tiki Tech team opened its doors to the community welcoming students throughout West
Hawaii to join the team and pursue their passion for STEM. This new initiative was fueled by the loss of the local West
Hawaii Explorations Academy (WHEA) robotics team due to budget cuts. The Tiki Techs were excited to welcome three
new robotics members from WHEA and two new homeschool students into the Tiki Tech community.

Team Captain/Student Representative that has double checked this submission.
Courtney Nelson

Essay
While the work tasks are diverse, our team never strays from our Vision: “develop a generation of socially
conscientious & STEM literate students who can responsibly guide our community through accelerating paradigm
shifts in technology by being excellent & bringing out excellence in others.” Team 3880 opens its doors to all students &
facilitates the development of their personal passions & skills. From graphic design to welding, our students are
encouraged to do what they love with excellence & for the benefit of others. The result of housing a wide variety of
talented students extends beyond the production of quality work to a climate of audacious goals & an overwhelming
sense of urgent purpose. We leverage our team’s previous success to broker new relations that can help change our
communities’ understanding of & investment in STEM education. This is guided by our Core Values:

1) Develop rigorous STEM aptitudes for all students;
2) Leverage the diversity of our team to create a premier program that will benefit future generations of students;
3) Maximize the potential of robotics to serve as a positive throttle for a sustainable community;
4) Create lifelong learners passionate about problem solving & finding innovative, paradigm shifting solutions;
5) Cultivate a safe place for students to explore their dreams & abilities while developing discipline, empathy,
communication skills, & responsible risk taking.

With the support & guidance of our caring, informed mentors, Team 3880 seeks to expose students to rigorous,
time bound, & professional problems in hopes of preparing them to prosper in 21st century career fields.
The drive possessed by both our current members & alumni has translated team success into personal opportunities at
prestigious universities such as Stanford, UT, UPenn, Princeton, UH, Cornell, Rice, Drexel, Columbia, Tsukuba, NYU, &
UWashington. With an intentional focus on accessibility for all learners, our ethnic diversity (more than 12 different
heritages), gender equality (females compose half of our project captains & team member), economic diversity
(majority of team classified as economically disadvantaged), & learning diversity (several valued teammates serviced
through special education) empowers our consistently innovative solutions.

Our team focuses on creating a supportive, structured environment for innovators by establishing a Design Team
specific for the FIRST season, which includes design, fabrication, engineering, documentation, operations, & control
systems. We utilize Stanford University’s Design Thinking process that Apple, Google, Facebook, & other technology
pioneers credit as their creative advantage. Our use of Design Thinking helps us create Divergent Thinking games
which sharpen our mental agility by playing & inventing mental responsiveness tasks. These games stand as the
starting point for much of our weekly work with K8 students & teachers. For Tiki Technology students, thinking outside
of the box is a normal and communal task. As IDEO’s Peter Skillman says, “the radical collaboration of a diverse &
passionate team always beats the efforts of the lone genius.” This process creates a true synergy with our diversity
allowing us to find unique solutions to engineering, robotics, or design problems. Our Design Team used this mindset
to produce a reliable & accurate robot completed in CAD first, then tested as components before final construction.

A major priority of our team is community outreach & our effect on people of all ages. In addition to our 40 outreach
events & frequent team mentoring, we have created & hosted the Kona STEM Camp(KSC) Program. For STEM Camp
2013, we hosted 120 3rd-8th graders for a week of 10 hour STEMtastic days filled with experiments, robot design,
video game creation, computer programming, & engineering challenges. Our student project leaders worked with the
scientific & high tech professional communities from the Big Island, Oahu, & Maui to bring in daily hands on
experienced field professionals. While campers enjoyed the renowned scholars & practitioners, most campers said the
work with our student facilitators was the most enjoyable. In 2014, our second camp had over 150 students & we
received over 100 student & parent evaluations of activities, field trips, & experiences. 100% of parents said they would
send their student again & would recommend the camp to another parent. We completed 2 camps in 2015 and the
2016 camp is scheduled for the first week of this summer. KSC has lead to many new STEM programs in our
community as we send the supplies & robotics kits from the camps to local schools.

Through this history of technical success, community development, & world class educational opportunities, the Tiki
Tech’s focus on the summit has recently expanded to the stars with our selection for the MoonRIDERS (Research
Investigate Dust Expulsion & Removal Systems) program. Selected by Superintendent Matayoshi to represent Hawaii
high schools & our nation we are partnered with PISCES, NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Iolani School, &
Google Lunar X Prize teams to test & validate the Electrodynamic Dust Shield (EDS). This is billed as the first high
school lunar surface space experiment ever. Kealakehe was selected because of our active engagement in STEM
education & extensive successes in different robotic & academic competitions. In addition, the Big Island’s
geographical conditions on our volcano, Mauna Kea, are very similar to the lunar surface & make for accurate testing
grounds. Through MR, the team works weekly with NASA including 2 research trips to Ames in 2015 and will do a
week long vacuum test with Kennedy Space Center this March right after the Orlando Regional.

Essay page 2
With our core values, motto, & team vision, we embody the FIRST values while personalizing them to our community’s
needs & diversity. We practice Gracious Professionalism & Coopertition on & off the competition field through our
friendly relations with other robotics teams in our community. Within the Big Island network of teams, we have emerged
as local leaders coordinating off season events & frequently lending materials, improving collective capacity &
organizing socials to build ohana during the arduous season. Our team is passionate about everything we do; the
number of competition wins & scholarships earned is not merely as important as the skills & love for STEM we hope all
of our students take with them as they enter new careers. To the world we are Kealakehe Robotics, Tiki Techs, or Team
3880; to us, we are family. We are Kealakehe Robotics & we will reach the summit & beyond.