Hilo Viking Robotics aims to provide students with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the fields of science and engineering, while building self confidence, knowledge, and life skills.
Our club is a student-driven organization. Everything we do is initiated and conducted by us students, from solicitation to building and running robots. It is the passion and motivation that keeps our club running and constantly improving.
Founded in 2003, the club focused on the FIRST Robotics Competition for two years, until the 2004 to 2005 school year. Staff shuffling and adviser loss resulted in the club no longer participating in FIRST. But that did not stop us from pursuing our passion for robotics!
In 2006, the club entered a period of revival. We began participating in ROV Underwater Robotics Competitions, hosting several regional level competition. The club, which was reformed with 9 members, had grown to 21 by its second year. With our participation in ROV going strong, we added Botball and the Vex Robotics Competition to our list of activities. By 2008, we had picked up enough momentum to rejoin FIRST.
As the club grew, so did our outreach initiative. We began mentoring talent from Hilo Intermediate School in Botball (placing 2nd in the elimination rounds at Hawaii Regionals 2007). In 2008, we switched gears and began to focus on developing Camp Eureka, a program designed to instill a sense of wonder towards STEAM in the children of our community.
By 2010, we were competing in tournaments once again. Although HVR had dropped ROV in 2009, students from both Hilo and Waiakea High Schools joined to create HHS+1; an alliance team to compete in the MATE ROV competitions (placing 1st in the Big Island ROV regional level competition, qualifying for the international competition held in Hilo, placing 5th and winning “Most Cost Efficient”). In the 2011 season, the two teams decided to merge once again(qualifying for the International Competition, which was held in Houston, Texas).
All things considered, 2010-2011 was a major turning point for our club. After recovering funding, mentorship, and membership, our competition focus became Vex and FIRST competitions. Although our results weren’t flattering, the future looked bright. It was a positive step forward.
The 2011-2012 school year came with better results as we consistently got into the playoff rounds of competitions. At the Big Island VEX tournament, we placed runner-up. At the Pan-Pacific Vex Competition, we finished in the top 8. We were awarded the Judges’ Award at the FIRST Hawaii regional level competition.
In 2012-2013, we were awarded our first Vex Excellence Award in Maui. We also earned our first non-ROV championship at the TMT Big Island Vex Tournament, and later a much bigger one in the Pan-Pacific Vex Championship as the captain of the winning alliance. Carrying this momentum into the 2013 FIRST season, while not finalists, we were the only alliance to beat a higher ranked alliance and due to all of our outreach efforts, we earned the Engineering Inspiration Award(allowing us to compete in the World Championship). To end off the season, we participated in both the Vex and FIRST World Championships back to back, placing formidably for a team’s first year there.
During the 2013 to 2014 school year, we started off strong; winning the Waiakea Vex Regional and doing well at the Hawaii State Vex competition. Although our team did qualify for the Vex World Championship, we chose not to attend in hopes of qualifying for the FIRST World Championship, held on the same week as Vex’s. At the FIRST Hawaii Regional, while rating very well, we did not qualify for the FIRST World Championship only taking home the Judges Award once again.
This past season, the 2015 to 2016 school year, we were tournament champions of the Kealakehe and St. Joseph Vex Tournaments taking home the Create Award at the Kealakehe Vex Tournament. We continued onto the Hawaii State Championship getting eliminated in playoffs. In 2016, we participated in the Hawaii Regional FIRST Competition, leaving only with experience. With a lot of new members at this time, this was more valuable than any award, ensuring that we will be back next year with a bigger bang.
In the 2014 to 2015 season, we participated in the TMT Viking Vex Tournament and the TMT Kohala Vex Tournament. At the 2015 Hawaii Regional FIRST Robotics Competition, we participated and were awarded the Judges’ Award for another year. The competition was growing and we needed to step our game up if we wanted to achieve more.
Ever since the comeback of HVR, we’ve been keeping it strong for 10 years!