Helping robotics helps others

LAWAI — The garage sale was a fundraiser for the Kauai Robotics team, but the Sunday event at the Lawai Cannery Self Storage helped other fundraising events as well.

“We’re raising funds so we can build a robot for next year’s program,” said Erin Rynda, a Kauai Robotics Chairman Committee member. “In addition to getting a robot built, the team wants to participate in a regional competition in Australia.”

Rynda said there are about 20 students from all the high schools in the program which is based out of Island School.

“This year, we were able to travel to Central Valley, California, for a regional tournament where we finished in the quarterfinals of a 49-team field,” Rynda said. “We were the only team from out of state and was even featured on local television because we were not from California.”

She said participating in the California regional helped the team prepare for the tournament which was held at the University of Hawaii.

Unfortunately, the team fell short of its goal of being selected to advance to the national competition.

“We finished in the quarterfinals at the Hawaii tournament,” Rynda said. “Only two teams earn eligibility to advance to the national competition. The Kauai Robotics team is still looking to get to the nationals.”

Lorna Santos of Lawai Cannery said there were 24 vendors participating in the garage sale.

“A lot of our storage units are being used,” Santos said. “We told the vendors they could bring tents and set up in the aisles since the storage units were already occupied.”

Debbie Akana of Hawaii Flour Mills did just that, and set up a table offering baked cookies and bread pudding created in the certified kitchen of her daughter’s restaurant, MCS Grill in Hanapepe, owned by Chimes Lauame.

“She’s raising funds for the American Cancer Society Relay of Life which takes place this weekend,” Santos said. “So she helps the robotics team, and gets help at the same time.”

John Kaneholani of Anahola was making his way home from Hanapepe.

“We were out there for the grandchildren’s Kiakahi volleyball,” Kaneholani said. “When we heard of the sale, we just stayed in Hanapepe overnight. Now, the girls are all happy with what they found.”

Richard Aki, helping his wife Priscilla at one of the tents, was also pleased with his shopping.

“I found a Skil saw, a hedge trimmer, and some other stuff at good prices,” Aki said. “I was going to buy this straight shaft trimmer, but unfortunately, it was already sold.”

And Kauai Community College student Sharee Alpeche was participating in the sale to gain experience for her entrepreneurial class.

“I was at the craft fair in Princeville a couple of weeks ago,” Alpeche said. “Today, I’m here with Diane Castillo of Scrappy Design. She brings her surplus items and we added some rummage items so shoppers will have some variety. We’re doing the craft fair Saturday at the Kauai Veterans Center as well, and the only way to get experience is by attending and participating.”

Candace Pemerin of Lawai Cannery had on apparel announcing the Walk A Mile in Her Shoes event, set for Wednesday at the Kukui Grove Center from 5 p.m.

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