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Pala’au The area of Pala’au was renown for having the largest fishpond on Molokai at over five-hundred acres. It was among the first fishponds that schools of fish would migrate to on their trek around Molokai from west to east. Part of the aquaculture system on the west side of Molokai included an underwater heiau with the “Ku” stone in its midst, signifying the male role of procreation. From that, schools of fish would travel to the network of fishponds to spawn. This complex and productive component of the ‘Ahupua’a system was what contributed to the wealth of Molokai as termed by the phrase “Moloka’i--’Aina Momona” or “Land of Plenty.” Pala’au is the name that our team bears in honor of the ‘Ahupua’a engineering marvel of ancient Moloka’i. Ka Lawaia Naiwa is the name of the ancient Makahiki grounds located north of Molokai Middle School. Being the school closest to this area, it becomes the kuleana (responsibility) of our MMS students to care for, protect, and promote the history and traditions of this Naiwa. This area is still protected from development until today, and hosts yearly events in celebration of Ka Molokai Makahiki, or the Molokai Makahiki Festival. Team 434N bears the name “Naiwa” for “Naiwa Warriors” in honor of the ancient athletes who came from all corners of the island every year to compete in friendly competition in our version of the Olympics. We honor our ancestors, culture, and history by naming our 434P Robot “Kalawai’a” and our 434P Team “Team Pala’au.” Once again, our history, traditions, and best practices of the past are carried forward into the 21st Century with us in our Robots and Teams, and we are proud to take these with us to all of our competitions. This is Team 434P, Team Pala’au, with their Robot “Kalawai’a.”
Team 434 is the VEX IQ Robotics team under the STEM Robotics program of Molokai Middle School. We are 7th and 8th grade students and teachers that actually make up four individual teams known as Team 434K Kalo Farmers, Team 434M Menehune Farmers, Team 434N Na'iwa Warriors, and Team 434P Palaau Fishermen. We just concluded a successful 2017-2018 regular season, and have been blessed with the following awards from the following events: 1. Lahaina VEX IQ Tournament (see http://bit.ly/2GcJo2w): A. Teamwork 2nd Place Award: 434K B. Teamwork 2nd Place Award: 434M 2. STEM Day @ MMS/Molokai VEX IQ League Championships (see http://bit.ly/2zkfQM3): A. Design Award: 434N B. STEM Research Project Award: 434M C. Excellence Award: 434M (State qualified) 3. Valley Isle VEX IQ Tournament (see http://bit.ly/2ibnl1L): A. Teamwork Champion Award: 434K (State qualified) B. Excellence Award: 434K (State qualified) 4. Hawaii State Middle School VEX IQ Championship (see http://bit.ly/2yklFYX): A. Teamwork Champion Award: 434M (Worlds qualified) B. Teamwork 2nd Place Champion Award: 434K (Worlds qualified) While traveling to these events, we were also blessed to visit, support, and network with additional VEX IQ teams on Molokai, Maui, and Oahu as part of our ongoing Service-Learning mission to promote and sustain Robotics and STEM Education in Hawaii. Our theme and motto for the 2017-2018 season comes from the ‘Olelo No’eau (Hawaiian Proverb) that says, “O ka pono ke hana ‘ia a iho mai na lani--Continue to do good until the heavens come down to you” or in other words, “Blessings come to those who persist in doing good.” It has been our founding philosophy--and our ongoing testimony--that by continuing to give service back to our communities, we will continue to receive blessings of achievement and success. Our first year of success in 2013-2014 was met with overwhelming community support and aloha--that started the cycle in which we gave back, and continue to give back, as part of our Kuleana (cultural duty) to Hawaii and its keiki.
STEM Robotics is the STEM program of Molokai Middle School in Hoolehua, Molokai, Hawaii. Our STEM program was founded in 2012-2013, and is the first of its kind in both the middle school and high school level. It was also the first official STEM program to begin in the State of Hawaii at the secondary level. Molokai Middle School is comprised of 7th and 8th grade students on the island of Molokai. They come from four elementary feeder schools in various districts, and upon promotion, students continue in grades 9-12 at Molokai High School. In 2013-2014, our STEM program adopted the VEX IQ program as their official Robotics program and curriculum, and the STEM Robotics program was begun. Two teams were formed--Team 434M Menehune Farmers, and Team 434K Kalo Farmers. In their first year of competition, they won at the State level, advanced to the 2014 VEX Worlds, and won two first-place trophies for Teamwork Champion and Skills Champion at the 2014 VEX Summer Games. That was the start of a winning program that now leads the world with one of the first and most successful leagues in VEX IQ.