Schools, business pair to foster learning

Naomi Nordmeier has less than 10 days before she boards a plane for New York.

But during her four-year internship with Envisioneering here on Kaua‘i, she has inspired students from Kilauea School and Ke Kula O Ni‘ihau and Westside homeschoolers to develop a keener interest in science through the use of her dynamic science projects.

“Nine days left,” Nordmeier said, peering up from her laptop computer.

Nordmeier, who was the subject of a special presentation from Envisioneering and Kilauea School last week, will be leaving to pursue a higher degree in New York.

As Nordmeier worked on her computer, Kilauea School students Maluhia Kinimaka and Mahinalani Alexander were proficient in explaining the thermochemistry project laid out for visitors to the Adopt-a-School program yesterday at the convention hall.

Kaua‘i Area Complex Superintendent Daniel Hamada was among the visitors who browsed through the offerings of a dozen schools and their sponsoring community businesses under the Team Tech and Aloha Ike programs.

Hamada noted the growth in the program as well as the scope of the projects undertaken by the schools.

“This year, we have, for the first time, a performing arts program,” said Mia Ako of the Kaua‘i Economic Development Board, the administering organization for the program.

Kalaheo School had part of the cast of its recent “Honk Jr.” production on hand in costume. They also came equipped with a DVD of the successful student production.

“It’s amazing what our kids are achieving in math and science with the support of dedicated teachers and our high tech partners,” said Kaua‘i Mayor Bryan Baptiste, another of the visitors to the program.

The county, in collaboration with KEDB, works to partner schools with private sector representatives to advance learning in Kaua‘i’s emerging industry cluster.

Another of the program highlights was the availability of the Waimea High School Remotely Operated Vehicle team which recently earned second place honors at a robotics competition in Hilo on the Big Island.

Under the direction of teacher Laura Mission, the team earned top Engineering honors and second place overall honors at the second annual MATE-Big Island Regional ROV 2007 Tournament.

“The students competed with other high schools in the state,” Mission said. “In addition to the top engineering award, the Menehune-built ROV got second in distance and aloha competitions.”

Mission, expressing her pride for the Waimea students’ accomplishments, noted that this was a first for a school from Kaua‘i.

Additionally, the robotics program initiated by students from the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School were on hand with their recent projects from the bot ball competition held on O‘ahu.

Ako took advantage of the opportunity to announce a Kaua‘i bot ball competition that will happen June 9 at the Kaua‘i Community College campus at 10 a.m.

Six teams from schools on Kaua‘i will be involved in the competition featuring robotic craft that negotiate through a pre-planned course.

Ako said there will be the CKMS team, a Kula School team, two teams from Island School, one from Kaua‘i High School and one team from Kapa‘a Middle School.

This was just part of the dozen schools and their partner companies coming to the convention hall for the Adopt-a-School program.

The year-long partnership focused on enhancing learning in the areas of math, science and engineering.

“Team Tech has been such a successful and rewarding program for all involved,” Baptiste said. “I’d like to thank all of our partner companies for continuing to invest time and energy in our keiki.”

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com.

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