Maui High, Molokai Middle students find success in STEM programs and contests

Maui High and Molokai Middle schools took second place in their respective statewide divisions for participation and success in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education programs and contests.

The awards were presented April 9 at the STEM Week Awards banquet on Oahu.

In addition, Maui District Awards were given to Baldwin High and Lahaina Intermediate in their respective school divisions.

STEM Week Hawaii celebrates science, technology, engineering and mathematics education excellence across the state. It is led by the Hawaii Academy of Science and supported by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Maui High achieved the second-highest award in the state behind repeat winner Mililani High School on Oahu for its participation and success in various programs, including its robotics programs, participation in the science fair, Health Occupations Students of America programs, as well as its participation in the Aloha Bowl Regional Ocean Science Bowl competition and the Science Bowl competition. Maui High finished first in the latter two events, said Vincent Kimura, a managing partner for The Inovi Group, whose clients include Hawaii Academy of Science.

He added that for Molokai Middle, the school took second-place honors for its participation and success in Math Counts, robotics, science fair and others. Highlands Intermediate on Oahu took first place in the Middle School state category.

“I think the goal is to recognize those schools that have grown and supported these different organizations. The goal is to have every student touched by one of the programs,” Kimura said.

He added that not every student may have a “science bone in their body or a math bone in their body,” but some of these programs that are evaluated for the STEM awards not only contain STEM elements but also public speaking or other elements.

The winners are selected on the basis of quantative rankings that covered each school’s performance in STEM activities, as well as its respective levels of student, teacher and volunteer engagement, a release said.

Private schools are evaluated separately because some of those schools may have different programs from public schools, Kimura said.

Punahou School on Oahu took first place in the independent high school competition and Iolani School on Oahu took first in the independent intermediate category.