Magma Robotics at Kalani

Madeline Eakin, Student Life

The Magma Robotics Club at Kalani High School offers students the opportunity to learn mechanical engineering skills, obtain design experience, and compete and travel all over the world. 

But it’s not just about robots. Robotics advisor Brian Silver and captain of the FRC 3008 team Stephanie Lee (11) agree that Magma Robotics is more than just a club.

Magma Robotics is made up of five teams which include the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team, two FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) teams, the Video Editor for XML (VEX) team, and the drones team. 

FRC is the main team and, according to Stephine Lee is the most “labor intensive” because of its competition schedule. The team has traveled and competed all over the U.S. and the world, including to Australia, Tai Wan, and Canada.

According to Mr.Silver, the Magma Robotics club can give you many opportunities and skills. 

“You’ll get a chance to have leadership, make self decisions, budgetary decisions, play with big tools and toys, and build something that has never been created before,” Mr. Silver says.  

Stephanie Lee says that the club doesn’t just give you engineering skills, it offers business experience, leadership skills, project management opportunities, volunteering, and most of all, a diverse community.

“All projects, including outreach events, fundraising, academies, and training, is managed by student members,” Lee explains.

The club started 14 years ago upon request from the previous Kalani principal, Jerald Teramae, according to Mr. Silver. 

You can join the club at the beginning of the school year. All robotics members take a safety test to be allowed to use the power tools in the workshop. The club meets in J2 in the Robotics workshop from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. for FTC, VEX, and Drones. FTC and VEX meet on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, while Drones meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

If the teams qualify to compete at the world championships, the meetings will continue in the 3rd quarter. 

FRC has a six-week build period that starts in January, and members attend meetings every day from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. for the build period.

“In Team Magma, we’re not just a ‘club’, we’re a team that learns and grows with each other,” Lee explains.

During the first week of school, the 150-pound FRC robot could be seen driving around the campus. The robot is built by the FRC members from scratch in about six weeks, and it’s the same robot that was taken to the World Championships after winning last school year. 

Lee says her favorite part of the club is the “community and the gracious professionalism mindset.” 

She says that all robotics teams at a regional are very competitive, but the atmosphere is encouraging to keep the event fun for everyone. 

“The best part of a regional is knowing your team won and strictly because you won against someone at their best,” she says. 

Mr. Silver wants to get students involved and show them that it’s more than robots, programming, and electrical. 

“It’s the best experience you’ll ever have in high school,” Mr. Silver says. “It’s the hardest fun you’ll ever have.”