Hawaii Baptist Academy’s middle school robotics team placed fifth in the 2011 VEX Robotics World Championships in Orlando last month.
Some 104 middle school teams competed from around the world in the event, held April 14 to 16.
To qualify for the competition, students had to first win in a regional tournament.
Three of the top five teams in the Orlando championship came from China. In third place was a team from Arizona.
Robotics teacher Jennifer McFatridge said the fifth-place finish for HBA’s middle schoolers was exhilarating. But more important, she said, is what students are getting out of robotics activities.
"I hear the students telling each other that they want to be engineers; not just the ones who are naturally brilliant, but also the ones who are struggling — on the fringes," she said. "There’s so much hidden potential that shines."