Wheeler Middle School Triumphs at Regional SeaPerch Competition

By U.S. Army Garrison Hawai'i Public AffairsMay 31, 2024

Wheeler Middle School Triumphs at Regional SeaPerch Competition
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Wheeler Middle School students work together on their SeaPerch ROV project, honing their soldering skills under the guidance of their robotics instructor. The school’s robotics teams recently excelled at the regional SeaPerch competition, with one team winning first place. (Photo Credit: Robert Haynes) VIEW ORIGINAL
Wheeler Middle School Triumphs at Regional SeaPerch Competition
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Students from Wheeler Middle School carefully solder components for their SeaPerch ROVs during a practice session. The hands-on experience is part of the school’s commitment to fostering STEM education and preparing for competitions. (Photo Credit: Robert Haynes) VIEW ORIGINAL
Wheeler Middle School Triumphs at Regional SeaPerch Competition
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Members of the Wheeler Middle School robotics team focus intently on assembling their SeaPerch ROVs. The team’s dedication paid off, as they achieved notable success at the regional competition, earning a spot at the international level. (Photo Credit: Robert Haynes) VIEW ORIGINAL

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawai’i — Wheeler Middle School’s robotics teams achieved remarkable success at the regional SeaPerch competition, showcasing their ingenuity and technical skills. Competing against two other middle schools, Wheeler Middle School sponsored four teams, with one team placing third and another taking first place.

SeaPerch is an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) competition sponsored by the Coast Guard. Students design and construct their ROVs from PVC pipes, film canisters, toilet bowl wax, and controllers they solder together. They then navigate their ROVs through challenges, including an obstacle course and a mission challenge. This year’s mission challenge mimicked the exploration of geothermal vents, requiring students to perform tasks such as opening a gate, collecting various samples, and releasing a buoy.

Wheeler Middle School’s first-place team, the Lightning McQueeners, consisting of Elijah Rohan and Aleksandar Jovanov, earned an invitation to the International SeaPerch Competition at the University of Maryland. However, due to conflicting commitments, they decided not to accept the invitation. The third-place team featured brothers Asher Martin and Andrew Martin.

Robotics advisor Randy Otaka emphasized the importance of regular practice sessions, which were made possible by the support of the Island Palms Community Center. The center allowed Wheeler’s teams to practice at their pool three days a week, significantly contributing to their success.

In addition to their SeaPerch accomplishments, Wheeler Middle School’s robotics team also secured a spot representing Hawaii at the VEX IQ World Competition held in Dallas, Texas, further highlighting their dedication and talent in STEM fields.

SeaPerch is more than just a competition; it’s an educational program that introduces students to engineering, design, and science concepts through hands-on projects. It fosters critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity, essential skills for the 21st century. By reducing traditional barriers to participation in robotics, SeaPerch promotes opportunities for students and educators to engage in inquiry-based learning with real-world applications.

Wheeler Middle School’s success in these competitions exemplifies the school’s commitment to providing students with opportunities to explore and excel in STEM fields. The achievements of their robotics teams are a testament to the hard work, dedication, and support from the school and the broader community.