Team Tech celebrates 5 years

The fifth annual Team Tech Kaua‘i Adopt-a-School Learning Celebration will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. today at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall.

The public is invited to view student displays and watch demonstrations of the work Kaua‘i’s schools have done in partnership with local high-tech companies.

Throughout the year businesses coordinate classroom activities and special events for students at their adopted schools to augment math and science curriculum.

In some instances, companies have also assisted schools in upgrading their computer systems or provided professional development for teachers.

“It’s so rewarding to see our youngsters interacting with business people and learning about real-life careers to which they can aspire,” Mayor Bryan Baptiste said. “We truly appreciate the business community’s willingness to invest in our most precious resource — our children.”

This year’s celebration will also highlight school projects funded through the Aloha Ike program, which is coordinated by the Kaua‘i Economic Development Board.

The Adopt-a-School program and Aloha Ike have come to work hand in hand, according to Baptiste.

Adopt-a-School provides community partners, while Aloha Ike offers funding for school-based projects in technology and other industries such as the creative arts, renewable energy, agriculture, and health and wellness.

The Learning Celebration is hosted by the state Department of Education, county Office of Economic Development and the Kaua‘i Economic Development Board.

Team Tech was created five years ago when Baptiste, upon the urging of Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawai‘i, asked Kaua‘i’s high-tech companies to create a program to support the development of a high-tech workforce in the years to come.

“The high-technology companies have definitely stepped up to the plate,” Baptiste said. “Now we’re seeing these efforts multiply and produce tangible results.”

Among the list of Team Tech’s accomplishments are:

• Thirty-five scholarships totaling $7,000 donated by Kaua‘i and O‘ahu high-tech firms for tuition or academic supplies at Kaua‘i Community College. The scholarships are awarded at the annual Technology Career Fair held at KCC’s Technology Center.

• The establishment of numerous robotics teams, including botball at Chiefess Kamakahelei, Island School, Kapa‘a Middle and Waimea Canyon; Kaua‘i’s first Lego team at Chiefess; Kaua‘i’s first robotics teams at Island School and Waimea High School; and an ROV underwater robotics at Waimea High School.

• Kaua‘i In STEP program, now in its fifth year, has hosted nearly 10,000 students at its annual science show at Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall.

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