Alumni Coaches Guide Owl Robotics Team to an Imagery Award Win
Ser•en•dip•i•ty – noun – the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
For robotics coach and mentor Skyler Sybounmy ‘19, “serendipity” was the word he used to describe the circumstances of the 2022-23 Robotics season. It proved to be such an apt word, the FRC team #6704 named their robot after it. Sky, along with Tom Lyu ’20, both on a gap year from college, both back at home in Hawai‘i and both veterans of the Mid-Pacific Owl Robotics team serendipitously found themselves joining forces to coach and mentor the after-school robotics team last August.
Mid-Pacific’s FIRST robotics program is offered as part of the GlobalXLP after school program and promotes STEAM education. The school year is broken into two competitive seasons – First Tech Challenge (FTC) in the fall and First Robotics Challenge (FRC) in the spring. Both seasons require students to design, build, and program robots to complete autonomous and driver-controlled tasks. Many hours are spent building, coding and testing, troubleshooting and making adjustments leading up to the competition. This adds up to more than mere “chance” per the strict definition – but the camaraderie, teamwork and friendships built along the way are the serendipitous outcome of the team’s efforts.
The FTC team (#15236), ranked 15th in the state when they entered the finals in January, moved up to 8th place and competed as part of an alliance in the final tournament. While victory eluded them, they appreciated the journey, challenges and experience that they shared during the season and pivoted their focus to the FRC competition in March.
The Owl Robotics FRC team #6704 competed in the regionals March 22-25 at Stan Sheriff Center along with thirty-eight teams from Hawai‘i, California, Washington, Australia, Japan, Singapore, and Chinese Taipei. In addition to showcasing their robot’s capabilities, the team was honored with the Imagery Award in honor of Jack Kamen. They worked hard to bring a cohesive design to their robot, pit, and team uniforms, with a theme inspired by Formula 1 in alignment with this year’s competition sponsor, Haas. Their attention to detail and creativity were recognized with the Imagery Award, highlighting the team’s commitment to excellence on and off the field. This marks the fourth time the team has been recognized with the award since their rookie year in 2017. The team thanked their dedicated cheerleader and tireless veteran ‘Robotics Mom’ Lillian Kam for help with their F1 pit crew- inspired uniforms.
“The team worked incredibly hard and well together, culminating in a fantastic achievement of the Imagery Award. I’m proud of everyone for putting in the insane hours and committing themselves to this competition. Good luck next year!” – Skylar Sybounmy ’19