‘Ohana / Come Saturday, 52 teams of more than 500 keiki geniuses and an inestimable amount of lego pieces will assemble at the 8th annual Hawaii First Lego League (HFFL) Championship with the goal of one thing: world domination. Well, almost. Sara Tamayose, president of HFFL, explains it a little less hyperbolically. “I really believe that every child should have a chance to see the opportunities there for them . . . The First Lego League was built for the younger child; it challenges them and exposes them to opportunities in science and technologies, so that hopefully they can grow into some of our best leaders of the world.”
At the competition–themed around solutions for senior citizen-specific issues–teams representing Kauai, Maui, the Big Island and Oahu are responsible for driving their Lego robot through a maze of challenges to accrue points, defeating obstacles “that deal with delivery, retrieval or knocking down things like bowling pins,” explains Tamayose. “There’s an area with shelves, and if they’re able to get a loop off the top shelf, for example, they’ll score more points.” The main rule is that the beast has to be built using Lego pieces onto a 5×8” mini processor, so that each team can control their creation. There will be in interview period with a panel of judges made up of engineers and people in human resources from companies such as Hawaiian Electric Company, the Pearl Harbor Naval shipyard, the University of Hawaii and the Department of Education.
It’s all to encourage and support excitement and stimulation in areas other than athletics. It’s team sports with an intellectual bent, but ultimately, “We’re here for fun,” Tamayose says. “That’s one of our main messages.”