Hilo Viking Robotics to take on world: High school team excels at FIRST competition on Oahu

  • Courtesy photo The Hilo Viking Robotics team, with their robot, Kirby, and advisers, qualified for the FIRST Robotics World Championships in Houston.

Hilo Viking Robotics, comprised of Hilo High School students, reached the finals of the 2018 FIRST Robotics Hawaii Regional Competition that took place March 22-24 at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Known as the “Super Bowl of the Mind,” students were given six weeks to design, build and program a robot to complete the yearly challenge.


The Hilo Viking students and their robot, Kirby, were among 38 teams from throughout the state and around the world entered in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competition.

Aside from being regional finalists, Hilo Viking Robotics, competing as Team 1378, won the Engineering Inspiration Award which celebrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s school, organization and community.

The award qualifies the team to compete at the World Championships April 18-21 in Houston.

The team also celebrated Ina Klasner winning the FIRST Dean’s List Finalist Award, which honors outstanding student leaders whose passion and effectiveness at attaining FIRST ideals is exemplary.

“To have our robot competing at the highest level is the greatest honor of our high school career, as it has been five years since the Hilo Viking Robotics team qualified to participate at the championship level,” said student team member Kenneth Heikes.


“We are very excited and looking forward to this event but need additional funding support and are reaching out to the community for assistance in getting our team to Houston.”

To support the students, email hilovikingrobotics@gmail.com.

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