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Unread 03-05-2006, 10:30 AM
Rich Kressly's Avatar
Rich Kressly Rich Kressly is offline
VEX Robotics Education Mgr.
no team (Formerly 103 & 1712. Now U.P. Robotics (other programs))
Team Role: Mentor
 
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Rookie Year: 2001
Location: Pennsburg, PA
Posts: 2,055
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Operation Inspiration 2006: Who wants to read all the WFA entries?

Let's get an early start on this in 2006! In 2004, we had almost all of the winning entries. In 2005, we didn't do as well. Let's get these incredible mentor stories posted throughout the season this year instead of waiting until the end. So, congrats to the 2006 week one WFFA Winners: Wayne Cokeley, Andy Grady, Toss Cline, and Williane Tenca. Let's see if we can get these four posted before week two begins ... GO!
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Unread 03-05-2006, 11:17 AM
galewind's Avatar
galewind galewind is offline
... more like a temperate breeze
AKA: Chris Gregory
FRC #1089 (Team Mercury)
Team Role: Teacher
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Rookie Year: 2003
Location: Hightstown, NJ
Posts: 388
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Re: Operation Inspiration 2006: Who wants to read all the WFA entries?

This is Team 1089's submission for Wayne Cokeley at NJ:

The Woodie Flowers Award recognizes individuals who have mastered the art of communication in the fields of engineering and design. There are very few people who exemplify all the qualities necessary to succeed at this ambitious goal. Wayne Cokeley, coach to Team 25 and mentor to a myriad of other teams, including our own, manages to embody each trait with remarkable ease. His intense enthusiasm pervades the FIRST community, influencing a multitude of students to become active in pursuing Engineering.

Mr. Cokeley was one of the key factors in launching many teams, including our very own team 1089 in our rookie year, 2003. He capitalized on the opportunity to allow more students to participate in FIRST when he saw that there was ample interest in our school to begin a team. During our first year, he helped Team Mercury immensely by bringing volunteers from his own team to teach and assist us, as well as helping out himself. Cokeley offered his knowledge to the inexperienced students by lecturing on things such as the EDUbot kit and using it to explain concepts including lever arms, center of gravity, and mounting sprockets to wheels. Furthermore, he demonstrated how to properly use tools and even explained how FIRST works in general, particularly the concept of gracious professionalism. He also offered helpful suggestions for building a robot with difficult limitations on time, resources, budget, and design. In addition, Cokeley was essential in attaining our sponsorship from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. In the words of our advisor, Chris Gregory, “If every team had a Wayne Cokeley to help get them started, they’d be able to fully comprehend what FIRST can offer their students and communities”.

Wayne Cokeley has offered our team an immeasurable amount of assistance throughout the years. The most important asset that outweighs all else that he has given us is his encouragement. He has always contended that students should do more work than mentors, and unceasingly promotes student creativity and design. With his supportive speeches and even joyful tears upon seeing the growth of our team, the students have gained confidence and motivation to learn even more and work even harder. This attitude has been infused into the FIRST community through Mr. Cokeley’s avid participation in programs such as the Chief Delphi forums, the RINOS (Rookies In Need of Support) program, which he supervises, and the scrimmages and off-season event Brunswick Eruption hosted by Raider Robotix (25), just to name a few. Through these avenues as well as his own attempts to uphold an unofficial communication network within FIRST, Cokeley constantly offers his support and wise advice to anyone who might desire it.

The goal of FIRST is not for every team out there to have an unstoppable robot built to perfection; instead, the ideal is for every team’s students is to put their ideas and hearts into building both a machine and a cohesive team. In the words of Wayne Cokeley himself, “It doesn’t matter how many trophies you win or whether your machine is made of gold. It does matter that the kids develop a sense of belonging to a team they can be proud of and that they grow. Everybody has something they can contribute to a team and, if they show the initiative, they should be allowed to express it.” This is the standard that he abides by in leading his own team and assisting others. Mr. Cokeley’s leadership is inspirational to students throughout FIRST. It is best encompassed by what William Arthur Wood once said, “Leadership is based on inspiration, not domination; on cooperation, not intimidation.”
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Advisor, Team Mercury (1089), Hightstown High School
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Unread 03-05-2006, 12:13 PM
Corey Balint Corey Balint is offline
Now comes without cockiness.
AKA: Corn Dog
FRC #0125
Team Role: College Student
 
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Rookie Year: 2003
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Re: Operation Inspiration 2006: Who wants to read all the WFA entries?

Here is team 25's submission for Wayne Cokeley.

"Wayne Cokeley defines the words 'teacher' and 'mentor' in ways others can only hope to attain. His infectious enthusiasm and incredible dedication sets an example for all FIRST mentors to emulate."-Rich Kressly, FIRST Senior Mentor, Mentor of team 1712, and former Mentor of Team 103.

Throughout his decade in FIRST, Wayne has gone to great lengths to promote Team 25 and FIRST Robotics. In his time here, Wayne has gone on to create numerous programs and developed many new teams. Wayne is now the spearhead of RINOS (Rookies In Need of Support), which has created the Pre-Rookie movement and has started close to two-dozen teams. Three of these team's creations (all of whom were Rookie All-Star Winners at a Regional; 1403, 1048, and 1676), can all be attributed to Wayne, in some way. According to Paul Kloberg, NJ FIRST Senior Mentor, "Wayne continually creates a FIRST Friendly Environment wherever he goes. There is an entire army of FIRST Mentors all over the Mid-Atlantic area resulting from his inspiration. While we would never want to see it…if Woodie ever needed a long break, we have an answer for his replacement in the form of Wayne Cokeley."

Not only is Wayne responsible for the sterling history of Team 25, he is also recognized across the country as a great teacher and leader. On the popular Robotics forum, ChiefDelphi, Wayne was nominated for and received the Unsung FIRST Hero Award. In the nominator's words, Wayne is "…the spirit behind teams 25 and 1089. Well known on the forums, he is a charismatic leader and a helpful voice. He is very enthusiastic about the FIRST program, and describes his years of involvement as 'ten going on forever.'"

Wayne has continually gone above and beyond his mentoring duties. Even after being hospitalized for a stroke, Wayne fought his way out of the hospital and attended the NJ Regional in 2004 as a vital decision-maker. Wayne has always put forth to the best of his ability, including the need to develop student's abilities in all fields. He has pushed his students to learn aspects of marketing, business, engineering, technology, computer applications, and every other aspect of FIRST.

Throughout his ten years of service, Wayne has taught many members the how-to of various types of engineering. Bharat Nain, current Co-Captain and head programmer, brings up a great example. "My sophomore year, I had little experience in engineering. One of my first questions was quite simple. 'What is a potentiometer (Pot)?' His response, ‘Whatever you do on one Pot, the other Pot on the robot will make the same exact motion.’ Instead of giving me a complicated reply, he made it a simple process, easy for one to understand."

According to alumnus mentor and former Team Captain "Big Mike" Schroeder, "Wayne has the uncanny ability to find the talent in a student and show them his or her potential." Wayne has brought students from all levels of the high school into a cohesive, family-like unit. Through his many puns and euphemisms, or Cokeleyisms if you will, he has enlightened and quite possibly, tormented many students. His ability to stand by his words is mirrored by his humor. In 2000, he made a bet with the students that if they won National Championships, he would shave his hair off. Just a few days later, he honored his bet on Good Morning America.

David Beck, former WFFA and head mentor of Team 103, Cybersonics, expresses Wayne's dedication and devotion, "He eats and breathes FIRST and redefines 'Gracious Professionalism'. Besides, no one looks finer in a Hawaiian shirt."
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Don't be scared to post something that is more than "dave is great" "here's my caption contest entry" and "overdrive is the best thing ever". Say something interesting. Say something that will make others think. Create discussion.
If you do say something that isn't just for fun or praising something, which hopefully you do, just be prepared to back up what you said.

Remember: GP is Gracious Professionalism, not Glorifiying Plesantries. Saying something negative does not mean you are evil. It could help someone out a lot.

Anything that I post is an opinion from my own mind. Some may agree with it, others may not. However do not negatively associate anyone else, including any team I work with, with my opinion.
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Unread 03-05-2006, 01:06 PM
Rich Kressly's Avatar
Rich Kressly Rich Kressly is offline
VEX Robotics Education Mgr.
no team (Formerly 103 & 1712. Now U.P. Robotics (other programs))
Team Role: Mentor
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Rookie Year: 2001
Location: Pennsburg, PA
Posts: 2,055
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Re: Operation Inspiration 2006: Who wants to read all the WFA entries?

(No you aren't seeing double, both of these teams nominated Wayne on their own) ... OK.....three more before Thursday. Keep it going...
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Unread 03-12-2006, 01:24 PM
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nehalita nehalita is offline
Robots are friends
AKA: tagger fanatic
FRC #1345 (Platinum Dragons); FRC# 97 (RoboRuminants)
Team Role: Programmer
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Rookie Year: 2004
Location: Ft. Laud, FL
Posts: 870
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Re: Operation Inspiration 2006: Who wants to read all the WFA entries?

Hi, I'm from team 1345. Our mentor, Mr. James Payne, won the Florida Regional WFA. Thanks to Arefin Bari for being insistent on this submission, Amanda Morrison for helping me edit the content on the essay and for her positive feedback, Andy Baker and the past WFA recipients for posting in Andy Baker's thread to inspire me to finally sit down and write it, and the past WFA writers (i read a lot of your essays) to let me realize how important it is to recognize those who deserve it.
Coming from a team where any respect within the team is earned, we have always understood the clicheé actions speak louder than words. If anyone has earned our respect, Mr. James Payne, our teacher and mentor, has received it without hesitation from his teammates.
Mr. Payne, by title, teaches engineering at Stranahan High School. However, as one of his students says, “Class is just the pre-school, the real action happens after school.” And so, every day after school, Mr. Payne opens his classroom to a team ready to work on the Platinum Dragons Robotics Team; a team that has now become the very pride of our school. We come from a magnet school that has struggled to get academic recognition and foster a program that was conducive to learning. Finally, because of Mr. Payne’s hard work, the school has something to boast about.
The building blocks of this team’s foundation have been laid down by this hardworking teacher, and one of the most crucial elements he has stressed is dedication. Mr. Payne has put in more hours than any one else on the team has by being at the door of his classroom every day to invite us, see us off, and take anyone home that needs rides. Despite times of sickness and fever, he still manages to work right next to us.
Moreover, Mr. Payne has a unique way of inspiring us and pushing us to do the best. One of our team members once asked him, “Mr. Payne, have you ever said no to me?” and his response was, “No, I don’t think so…” Instead of turning us down, he offers us an alternative solution and lets us make the final decision. In this way, all team members get the option to present their idea and ultimately find themselves agreeing on an optimal solution and are happy with it. In fact, whenever there is a team discussion, you will usually find him sitting in the back of the classroom observing the ideas as they come.
Mr. Payne has even left us the option of what clothes to wear at regionals. We had the idea to wear bright orange jumpsuits to our regional and championship and he, as usual, said “sure, if you can make it happen!” In fact, Mr. Payne even wore a jumpsuit himself! This was topped off with painted face and head and mug shots of each team member – all in the name of a little fun!
More than fun, Mr. Payne also makes sure every student is included in the technical analysis during the building season. It is one thing to tell us what to do, but it is another to sit down and teach us what is happening through drawings and multiple explanations. It takes the patience of a superman… or just the patience of Mr. Payne.
One of the most significant things about our teacher is that he knows each and every student on a personal level. This means that if any of us need anything, we feel comfortable enough to approach Mr. Payne and know he will do whatever he can to provide what is best for us. This brings forth an extra dimension: our mentor is more than just a good teacher; he is a person that we trust and who understands us enough to help us pursue our endeavors, as well as be there for us when we need it. It is through this unrequited love that we come together as a family, and Mr. Payne has started it all by using his own life as an example.
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Last edited by nehalita : 03-12-2006 at 01:37 PM.
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Unread 03-12-2006, 04:50 PM
Eugenia Gabrielov's Avatar
Eugenia Gabrielov Eugenia Gabrielov is offline
Counting Down to Kickoff
FRC #0461 (Westside Boiler Invasion)
Team Role: Alumni
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Rookie Year: 2004
Location: West Lafayette
Posts: 1,470
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Re: Operation Inspiration 2006: Who wants to read all the WFA entries?

Congratulations to Steve Florence, the lead teacher on Team 461, who won the WF at Buckeye Regional this past weekend. Here is our submission:

Quote:
On Team 461, the Inspiration in FIRST is embodied by Mr. Steve Florence. “Flo”, as he is affectionately called, is the glue that binds together this Chairman’s Award winning team. Through student enrichment, team management, and creating a fun, productive atmosphere, Mr. Florence is the driving force on our team, and without him, Team 461 would likely cease to exist.

Seven years ago, Flo and Purdue freshman Shannon Schnepp started Westside Boiler Invasion when they saw the dire need for rejuvenation of passion for science and technology in their community. He has since continued his mission by creating and mentoring four FLL teams, running a summer lego-league camp, and been a vital force in the birth of the Boilermaker Regional. Treating young teams like 1646, 1747, and 1555 as his own, he sends parts and personnel to their aid. Flo’s many roles include teaching students personally, organizing Purdue FIRST travel, and serving as Education Program Coordinator for the Boilermaker Regional.

On a personal level, Flo means infinitely more to high school students than what can be seen in his accomplishments on the robot. Despite other commitments, during build season he is a consistent driving force in the lab, and has since sacrificed his coaching of the wrestling team in order to devote more time to FIRST. Senior Navid Hojatti noted that Flo often stays late after everyone else leaves, returning to teach early in the morning. On the few occations that he cannot be at meetings, he checks in and has advisors walk students out to their cars late at night. Alex Turco, another senior, recalls that Flo helped him fix his car twice when it broke down.

Flo allows everyone who wishes to join the team, despite warnings against large team size from other mentors in the FIRST community. He places students who demonstrate leadership ability in situations where they can develop, while still including every team member in each project. Flo teaches Purdue advisors to become better leaders, handing over responsibility, allowing them to truly be mentors. Still, he is always dependable and remains the only mentor who has been able to stay with the team since its inception. Despite all he does for the team, Flo maintains the embodiment of humility, constantly stepping out of the spotlight to allow others credit for his accomplishments. Senior Andrea Pluckebaum, notes that, “Not only does Flo teach us, but he cares for us. When [Senior] Catherine Wallace was in the hospital, he didn’t just allow us, but strongly encouraged us, to go visit her—even though it was during the six weeks.” Senior Cliff Reeder, echoes this idea, “Flo is…awesome.” President of the Parent Booster Club, Elizabeth Akey says, “Flo’s driving motivation is to help the students find passion, whether it be in engineering or another area. With FIRST, he embodies the passion that he hopes to inspire in others.” Matt Adams, former 461 mentor and now engineer, considers Flo “an optimist, a big picture thinker, and a 'get up and do it' kind of guy. It's this sort of character that makes him a man I'm glad to call a personal role model in a world with so few true men.”

Team 461 functions as a healthy FIRST team because at its heart is Flo, beating relentlessly. Mr. Florence is a true leader and the foundation upon which Team 461 stands. This is why we, the students of Westside Boiler Invasion, propose Steve “Flo” Florence for the 2006 Woodie Flowers Award. In the lives of these students, Flo’s impact is like none other, and quite possibly never will be.
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McCormick School of Engineering 2010
Computer Science

Team 461 for life!
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Unread 03-18-2006, 04:32 AM
Kyle Love's Avatar
Kyle Love Kyle Love is offline
Support STEM Education
FRC #3301 (Jay County Robotics)
Team Role: Teacher
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Rookie Year: 2004
Location: Portland, IN
Posts: 3,072
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Re: Operation Inspiration 2006: Who wants to read all the WFA entries?

Mark Koors Woodie Flowers essay.

Mark Koors has been a mechanical/electrical engineering mentor for the TechnoKats since 1998. He is not an average mentor; he amazes students by showing them outstanding techniques on using simple, but different techniques to complete tasks. Instead of just telling students to do something, he shows us how and lets us do it. For instance, Mark is one of the first mentors to teach our rookies how to tap holes. Mark may be eccentric sometimes, but to everyone who knows him, they would tell you he is someone who would drop everything to help anyone in need.

Mark’s FIRST experience does not end with just the physical robot. He helped design the innovative New Year’s Eve ball in 1998 for our towns “ball drop”. He designed a new ball, which contains over 31,000 LED’s two years ago, and used it as a training tool for our new students. The freshman and veteran students alike, learned new skills that would become very valuable for the build season; such as pop riveting, soldering, and basic metal fabrication along with wiring.


Mark has also helped the FIRST community by creating a business with fellow TechnoKat engineer Andy Baker. Their foremost goal is to help even the field of FIRST teams so those teams with scarce resources can still be competitive against the more fortunate teams. Over the build season, he never let his AndyMark© business get in the way of his help with the team.


Mark also helps people from outside of FIRST, and the United States. This past summer he went to Haiti and helped dig wells so the villagers would be able to drink clean water. Mark’s involvement with the Haitian aid trips has been kept relatively quiet from the team, but the students and mentors are very proud that he participates in them.

Mark helps run an off-season competition called IRI (Indiana Robotics Invitational). He oversees the set up of the pit area and makes sure that teams have the power that they need to run their robots. Mark does this on a total voluntary basis. He has done this since the beginning of the competition in 2000.


The majority of FIRST teams also know that Mark is always willing to help. At regionals, it is not uncommon to see Mark in another teams pit helping them solve mechanical or electrical issues that could very well take the team out of a competition. He also volunteers at many regionals as an inspector and he also visits many teams at regionals and off-season competitions to make sure they are working the way that team wants.


Mark is also an easy guy to get along with outside of TechnoKats. Kyle Love, Junior and team lead said “Mark really has made an impact on my life; he has taught me that every problem has a solution, you just have to be creative and find that solution.” He is also an exceptionally fun loving guy away from the competition. He makes random jokes, and shows a side that most people never see.

Words can not entirely describe how Mark really is. He is very devoted to the team and the people on the team. He treats the students as if they were one of his own kids. He is always at the shop it seems, always dreaming up the new, mind blowing, thing that is almost guaranteed to ‘WOW’ anyone that sees it.


Mark does not just inspire TechnoKat students; he inspires people around him to challenge the impossible. He shows that there are no limits and to always Aim High!
__________________

Kyle Love
Teams I've been on:
Team 45 - The TechnoKats - Student/Leader/Driver 2004-2007
Team 1646 - Boiler Precision Guessworks - Mentor 2007-2011
Team 3301 - Jay County Robotics - Teacher 2011-Present

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Unread 03-20-2006, 04:04 PM
Lil' Lavery Lil' Lavery is offline
#8 Alliance For Life
AKA: Sean Lavery
FRC #1712 (DAWGMA)
Team Role: Mentor
 
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Rookie Year: 2003
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Re: Operation Inspiration 2006: Who wants to read all the WFA entries?

Here's Team 116's WFA mentor from the Peachtree Regional, Mike Wherley!

Mike Wherley is a beloved mentor to Team 116, and has been a massive asset to our continued success, innovation, and learning. He has an amazing ability to teach students engineering ideas. His skills at keeping us working until the very end are remarkable. Even while teaching, he always remembers to keep safety first priority. Mike deserves the Woodie Flowers Award because of his outstanding ability to teach, inspire and spread the enthusiasm, and energy of engineering and FIRST.
Mike helps the students understand difficult engineering concepts that many would not otherwise understand. “Mike asks simple questions to help us understand problems” (Andrew Schmitt, freshman). Through questions, many students analyze and then understand difficult concepts and design issues in their own ways, rather than just through memorizing information. Whenever possible, he will pair new students with veteran members in order to not only help the newer students understand the concepts, but also to help the veteran members expand their abilities through teaching others. “Mike always knows who to ask to help solve your problems.” (Robbie Smith, sophomore).
Mike possesses outstanding inspirational abilities, and is great at keeping students inspired and dedicated until the end. “Mike adds humor to serious information. It really helps keep stress down.” (Peter Schulke, Junior). Humor keeps people sane during the build season, and Mike really knows how to keep the pressure down. He never looses sight of the goal and is sure to keep the team working towards that goal. “Wherley was supportive of me even when I was in doubt of my capabilities” (David Theurer, Senior). Mike believes in the students until the end. He always makes sure to keep us smiling and thinking positively, while still keeping us aware of our deadlines.
“Wherley makes sure we are always staying safe and doesn’t allow any horseplay on his watch” (Richie Powers, Senior). Mike always makes sure that we have our shop glasses. He always checks to ensure that members are using the right tool for the right job; Mike also keeps his watchful eyes moving constantly to keep us from getting hurt. Never one to waste time, Mike makes sure no one else wastes it either. “Wherley is always looking out for our best interest, especially when concerning safety and tools” (Sean Lavery, Junior). Mike always wants to see the job done safely and effectively. He never lets us get away with doing something dangerous. He is so diligent that he has earned the nickname “Sheriff Wherley.”
Peter Schulke recalls that when he was first elected captain of FIRST Vex Team 18 (a sister organization of FRC 116), Wherley sat down and talked to him about being an effective leader. “Wherley and I talked for some time about my growing role on the team and being a leader. He gave me a bunch of great advice, which I value highly, and I will keep it in mind for a great time. He helped the challenges facing me seem much smaller, and I doubt that I would have been able to deal with them nearly as well as I did without him.”
Michael Wherley is one of the biggest reasons that Team 116 has continued to learn and enjoy the FIRST experience year-round. He inspires the students and keeps us working throughout the entire year. Wherley is always concerned with our safety, especially in the shop. Mike is an amazing Woodie Flowers Award candidate because of these qualities, which give him the outstanding inspirational ability, for which Team 116 appreciates and adores him.
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Unread 03-20-2006, 05:02 PM
Richard Wallace's Avatar
Richard Wallace Richard Wallace is offline
I live for the details.
FRC #3620 (Average Joes)
Team Role: Engineer
 
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Rookie Year: 1996
Location: Southwestern Michigan
Posts: 2,754
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Re: Operation Inspiration 2006: Who wants to read all the WFA entries?

<posting on behalf of 931 student Margi Doshi, who is not yet a CD member>
Here is a copy of the Woodie Flowers essay submission from Team 931-- (Frank Dressel)

“He organizes things, keeps us on track, and actually cares what happens to us. He is here for us all the way, through rain or shine,” Serafino Bland, team member.

Mr. Frank Dressel is the fuel that drives the engine of Team 931. As Head Coach, Mr. Dressel leads, inspires, and empowers us to do our best. He is an effective communicator; he listens and is very resourceful. Because of how he listens to us and his ability to solve problems, Mr. Dressel encourages each of us to maximize our potential.

As students, we often meet teachers who only want to talk; however, Mr. Dressel gives us the chance to speak first. He makes it so that we’re the ones who lead discussions. This year he split us into three groups – Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie. After Kick-off, each group developed a game strategy, designed a robot and began building prototypes. This got more students involved in the design process than ever before. Each group presented its plan and the entire team discussed its pros and cons. With this sort of openness to student ideas, Mr. Dressel creates an environment where every member can contribute.

Team member Samuel Harrington describes a personal experience with Mr. Dressel. “He taught me how to cut metal. I was really intimidated by the machinery and the noise, but then Mr. Dressel started to break down the procedure. The first time I began cutting I was really nervous and was going way too slow. He just smiled and encouraged me to go faster. That was the first time that I felt like I learned something useful, it was the first time that I felt like a teacher really cared about my learning."

Mr. Dressel is also incredibly resourceful. He isn’t afraid to make personal sacrifices and the answers he finds to our problems always move the team forward. When we earned the opportunity to attend Championship last year our budget was running low. With the registration deadline approaching and our sponsors lagging behind, Mr. Dressel charged $5,000 to his personal credit card. However, his investments extend beyond his willingness to open his wallet. For the second consecutive year, we hosted the St. Louis Regional Fall Training Camp, the brainchild of Mr. Dressel. Our camp helped bring teams together from across the region. Although we intended this camp to help struggling teams, our team benefited just as much from the exchange of ideas and the relationships that were formed.

The greatest asset that Mr. Dressel has is his ability to get students involved. This strength manifests in two ways - with students on our team and those of other teams. Because of the approachable way that he teaches, our team is able to express ideas, experiment, and learn. He encourages us to never give up and learn from our mistakes, even if it’s frustrating. This attitude ripples out to other teams. Mr. Dressel has helped to generate seventeen local teams that represent over twenty-four high schools. Additionally he has started three FVC Teams and supported numerous FLL Teams. His gift to enthuse and motivate is helping to change the way students see learning about science and technology.

One of our team members Kirsten Jones said it best, “He’s the man who brings us together. Start to finish Mr. Dressel exemplifies the work ethic, dedication, and spirit that makes Team 931 successful.” 2005 St. Louis Regional judges were in agreement. They named Mr. Dressel “Volunteer of the Year,” saying that “because of his leadership and mentoring Team 931 has become the master teacher for our regional teams.”

<originally posted in the St. Louis Regional thread along with other award presentation scripts.>
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Whirlpool Corporation, Benton Harbor, Michigan
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Mentor since 2002 for FRC 931 Perpetual Chaos (St. Louis, Missouri)
since 2003


I believe in intuition and inspiration. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.
(Cosmic Religion : With Other Opinions and Aphorisms (1931) by Albert Einstein, p. 97
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Unread 03-21-2006, 08:03 AM
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Carol Carol is offline
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Re: Operation Inspiration 2006: Who wants to read all the WFA entries?

John Larock, Team 365, Pittsburgh Regional WFA winner

Team 365-MOE began with the vision of one man, John Larock. John is the driving force behind our team’s growth and success: 7 years and 15,000+ volunteer hours later, he has impacted over 140 students from 16+ schools in 4 states through MOE 365.

He’s a force multiplier: he brought together a parent support group, then the MOE executive team, and in 2004, helped establish FIRST State, Inc., a non-profit group to fundraise and lead the robotics initiatives in DE region. He helped establish 3 FRC and 3 VEX teams in our area. He established and organized the DE VEX tournament.

John is the connector (“the duct-tape that holds our team together.” - Will H.) He recruits mentors and students, forms alliances, e.g., Duel on the Delaware off-season event with Salem Community College and Team 316, fundraises and performs community outreach through public robotics demonstrations.

John is an educator: he developed a middle-school robotics course, co-wrote a chapter for an encyclopedia of science education to be published this year, and presented twice at the FIRST Robotics conference. In cooperation with Salem Community College, John created a robotics skills training program that earns the students up to 18 college credits. John coaches our ambassadors and spokespersons with confidence and presentation skills for FIRST events (Chairman’s Awards) and public presentations such as Rotary Club lunches and school demonstrations. John also coaches the team strategists and scouts, important roles on our team.

John is an innovator: he developed MOEmentum, a web-based newsletter to guide rookie teams through the build season. To recognize individuals who were gracious, spirited, and/or helpful, he challenged us to design and award personal recognition pins at regional events in 2005. This year FIRST is piloting them for all teams at the Pittsburgh competition.

John is a gracious professional: he teaches by example to be gracious—in winning and in losing, to work and play hard, think of others and believe in us. John assists other teams and regional events without hesitating. At the Capitol Clash last fall, he was recognized for his generous assistance. He teaches us to assist when we can at competitions and in mentoring FLL, VEX, and JFLL teams. (John coaches a JFLL team too!) One student wanted to read books at a local library. John encouraged him to think bigger and drew others into the project. Our team’s “Reading with Robots” program has reached hundreds of preschool and early elementary students. Team authored books were donated to schools and libraries. They were even used to teach the principles of simple machines to students in Zambia.

John is an effective communicator: A multi-school team from 4 states requires communication. John’s emails keep the MOE community connected. John’s leadership and organization keeps the team focused and on track. "Each day he asks student leaders to report on their sub-teams. Our contributions are important; we are not just students”. - Melissa F.

John cares about students: “If you’re presenting something John always tries to make sure you’re prepared. If you’re nervous he gives you a pep talk.” – Rachel S.

John arranged for a home-schooled student 2 hours from DE to join our team. A local newspaper reported about a girl interested in engineering. He contacted her mother, explained the program, and recruited her daughter for the 2006 team.

John excites us about engineering, science and technology: 95% of MOE students have attended college with 82% pursuing science and technical careers; and eight FIRST scholarships have been awarded.

“John sees beyond the robot; everyone else sees the mechanical but he envisions the bigger FIRST picture.” - Jessica S.
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Unread 03-26-2006, 12:46 PM
Ricky Q.'s Avatar Unsung FIRST Hero
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Re: Operation Inspiration 2006: Who wants to read all the WFA entries?

This is team #269's essay for WI WFA Winner Bob Blersch:

Some people contribute more, genuinely care, reach for higher goals, and motivate others to join them. Bob Blersch, lead teacher for the CooneyTech Robotics team, is that type of person. In 1998, when he learned of FIRST Robotics, Mr. Blersch immediately wanted to be involved in this program. He was the driving force for obtaining school support, recruiting other teachers and engineering mentors, finding funding for a team and he immediately made clear his most important goal: inspiring students. “Bob Blersch is FIRST Robotics at OHS,” says teacher Mark Jappinen. The first year the team dealt with a robot 70 pounds over weight, a five-gallon pail of tools and no cart to move the robot at competitions. This only encouraged him to work harder.


Mr. Blersch has tirelessly communicated the FIRST message in creative ways to anyone that will listen. In school he has used bulletin boards, display cases, team newsletters, the school newspaper, websites, student assemblies, parent teacher conferences and his classroom to communicate the FIRST message. With his guidance and encouragement, the team has helped start and mentor two new teams:
Hartford (1091) and Watertown (1753). After trying unsuccessfully to get grade school teachers to start an FFL team he and students from our team started one, team 1855. He encouraged our team to join VEX so our under classmen could be introduced to the problem solving challenges of engineering.

Mr. Blersch ensures that FIRST is promoted in our community. He spreads the FIRST message by encouraging students to use websites, newspapers, parades and visits to schools and businesses. Over the years he has gone with students to numerous businesses and schools demonstrating robots and discussing the benefits of FIRST. He is as enthusiastic today as he was in 1998.


Bob Blersch promotes FIRST and engineering education by offering exceptional learning opportunities in our school. With great effort and time commitment from Mr. Blersch our school now offers the Project Lead The Way curriculum. These classes teach national standards in math, science and technology. This required additional education and training over his summer break. The new engineering and computer classes compliment FIRST Robotics greatly. He worked to get college credit for high school classes. He motivates students to raise their standards and work harder. Students taking Project Lead The Way classes are encouraged to join the CooneyTech FIRST Robotics Team.


Mr. Blersch inspires students during the build by personal example, with encouragement and refusing to lower his expectations. He expects students to run the team and organize the building season. Mentors guide but the students take charge. He understands that cooperation, generosity, patience, discipline, dedication, and honesty are as important as learning math, science and computer skills. He has fun slogans like “Safety FIRST, Stupid Hurts” to remind students to be careful. Mr. Blersch is proud that one of his students and FIRST members is now working for NASA; another is engineering for Porsche. His best moments are when former students visit, which happens often.


It is difficult to sacrifice family time year after year. Bob Blersch has chaperoned at every event, every year. He devotes endless hours to the CooneyTech Robotics Team. Luckily his family understands the difference he makes in students’ lives. Mr. Blersch has received no outside recognition for his efforts student and parent appreciation is enough for him. He measures success by his students’ achievements. For eight years our repeated success is a result of his steadfast contribution with genuine concern for students and their futures. Our team is very proud to nominate Bob Blersch, an exceptional educator, for the 2006 Woodie Flowers Award.
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Unread 03-26-2006, 01:38 PM
Alex Golec Alex Golec is offline
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Re: Operation Inspiration 2006: Who wants to read all the WFA entries?

Congrats to our own Artur Ostrowski who won the WFA at the Great Lakes Regional!

No one loves FIRST like Artur Ostrowski. He dedicates his life to inspiring the students on Team 469 to make the most of the opportunity they are given. Through this dedication, his technical expertise, and his formidable work ethic, Art has transformed the team into a powerhouse of mind and talent.

Dedication
Art and his son Mike joined Team 469 during the 2001 season. From day one, team members began hearing his oft-repeated mantra: “Every student should take responsibility for some portion of the robot.” Responsibility Art teaches by example. “He spends every day with us until midnight working at the machine shop to design and prototype, then stays up until 2 or 3AM so he can bring more ideas to the table the following day. Art’s dedication is amazing!" says Melonie Flasher, a freshman new to the team this year. Following a team critique of his new drawings, Art looks for a student to head up the new system. Alex Golec, 469 team leader, is always willing to volunteer. "It’s great to know I played a huge role in designing and building the roller system,” comments Alex, who did so under Art's guidance. “And it's even more exciting when you finally get to see it run."

Exceptional Technical Expertise
Art is one of the few mechanical engineers with an additional degree as a designer. "Do you know how lucky you are that your team has Artur?" asks Joe Johnson, Team 47 mentor and Art’s co-worker at Delphi. "The man is one of the finest engineers around. Team 47 would love to have him." Joe and Art are quite competitive about their FIRST robots, though neither likes to admit it. Message to Joe: We know exactly how lucky we are.

Being a brilliant engineer, however, is not why we nominated Art for the Woodie Flowers Award. His willingness to impart that knowledge to us, is. "Art helped me understand what the numbers and graphs on the screen meant,” says Melonie, referring to an excel spreadsheet Art made to model a ball’s flight path. When she looked perplexed, he asked what she didn’t understand. When she replied “everything” he tossed a ball at her, then explained it’s motion and how this was illustrated on the graph. Even mentors enjoy learning from him. Don Wright, a 2005 regional Woodie Flowers Award winner with another team, is a perfect example. "When my job brought me into the area, I chose to join 469 to learn as much as I could from Art." We could not possibly learn everything Art has to teach, even if we had 200 years.

Formidable Work Ethic
Art treats his commitment to robotics as if it's the most important job in his life. When he walks through the door, the team gets down to business. "It's hard for us to slack off when we see how hard Art is working,” says Matt Leung, a second year member. "He's like a machine." This formidable work ethic has students working beside him for hours and continuing to work even after the robotics meeting has ended. "An employer could not pick a better role model than Art to teach students how to pull their weight in the workplace,” says Gail Alpert, Team 469 manager. "Students rarely have the chance to learn this during high school. It will carry over into all aspects of their lives."

From his dedication, to his technical expertise, to his superior work ethic, Art Ostrowski is a mentor anyone would be proud to have on their team. We are just fortunate he chose to join ours.
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Unread 04-01-2006, 04:22 AM
Mark Pierce Mark Pierce is offline
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Re: Operation Inspiration 2006: Who wants to read all the WFA entries?

Here is Team 85's Submission for Steve Yasick, WFA winner at the West Michigan Regional yesterday. For more info on Steve, see the links on my website

Behind the jesting ridicule and playful banter, Steve Yasick truly is the most respected member of this group. He is the heart of Team 85, and he is the reason we are able to flourish and succeed. He may not know everything about building a robot. He might not know how to use each machine in the metal shop. But he has taught this team everything we know about courage, initiative, consideration for others, and what it means to live up to one’s full potential.

A strong advocate of the “It’s not winning that matters, but how you play the game” philosophy, Yasick believes strongly in giving every student a voice in key decisions that affect the direction of the team. He also promotes the idea that we are ambassadors of FIRST through such acts as helping to support other teams, hosting the West Michigan Lego League, offering our experience to area Lego teams, and visiting area schools where our robot, BOB, has become a cherished beacon to the younger students of the community. His constant support and encouragement has created a team that is ready to meet any challenge.

It came as a shock to us all when our highly esteemed leader was diagnosed with a rare connective tissue disease called Ehlers-Danlos Type IV. This has required him to undergo a series of major medical surgeries which began during this year’s build season and should continue through the beginning of the competition season. While the team is hopeful that Yasick will attend the West Michigan Regional, it is realistic that he might need more time to recover and we could have to wait until Nationals or beyond. In the meantime, his is sorely missed, but the team perseveres. Our team goes forward for a short while without its leader, but it is the foundation that he has built which provides the stability that allows the team to advance in confidence.

His charismatic nature brings unique elements to the team that has yet to be matched. His humbleness is a model for the team to follow. The challenge of not getting recognized for all that he's done for us hasn't fazed him in the least. Even though he's our leader he is also our friend; one who we can confide in if we have trouble or anything else that we may have a hard time with. Before he left he made sure to put our minds at peace by assuring us that everything was going to be okay.

Steve Yasick, our hero. From his first year of mentoring in 1997 he has affected every student and mentor to pass through Team 85. He has seen people grow, develop and come back year after year for the passion, drive, and zeal that Steve Yasick has encouraged our team to have. He has seen the impact FIRST has had on all of our lives but what he doesn’t know is that his participation in the program has aided in making the impact so influential. He once said, "At first I thought there was no way in the world that I would be able to lead the team. I was only the drafting teacher, responsible for collecting permission slips and organizing team affairs, but now, I don't think I could live without FIRST. It has become a part of who I am".

We wrote this award before his tragic death, and we wanted to share this with you to show that he will surely be missed. He will never be forgotten; his legacy that he left continues to live out through our lives.
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Unread 04-03-2006, 08:50 AM
Ricky Q.'s Avatar Unsung FIRST Hero
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Re: Operation Inspiration 2006: Who wants to read all the WFA entries?

Hey lets go here, there are 23 more of these to be had! I want to read them all before Atlanta.
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Unread 04-05-2006, 08:54 PM
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Re: Operation Inspiration 2006: Who wants to read all the WFA entries?

As William Arthur Ward once said, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” Thankfully, the ThunderChickens have daily inspiration in the form of one very special mentor, teacher, and friend— Mr. Arscheene. He is considered by many to be a humble, selfless father/mother figure and the heart and “glue” of the team. He has been there for every ThunderChicken, driving each of them forward to achieve the inspired, fulfilled life they choose to pursue. Mr. Arscheene is a nearly indescribable whole-hearted human being whose main goal is to ensure that everyone has a positive experience. He allows us to focus on the future and never dwell on discouragement; s/he can often be caught saying, “It’s nothing we can’t fix.” It is with pride and reverence that we nominate Mr. Arscheene for the Woody Flowers Award.

Many can be a great mentor. However, it takes more than that to be an exceptional person. Not only is Mr. Arscheene a beloved mentor, but he is also able to balance the roles of a loving father and husband, a demanding AP physics teacher, and a current college student.

Mr. Arscheene began the team in 1999 and this dedication has continues today. He inconspicuously and humbly spends more than 30 hours per week mentoring the students with advice and clever wisdom, watching them work together to complete the robot's construction before the infamous "ship date". Whenever the students become overwhelmed and are unsure "if" anything will turn out satisfactory, he always remains positive and is often heard saying, "It's not ‘if’ we succeed, it's when." Even after finishing his day's work at the Utica Center for Mathematics, Science and Technology, he can always be counted on for his intelligent advice. Mr. Arscheene even went out of his way to provide ThunderChickens with a ride to the Novi F.I.R.S.T. Kickoff so that those students might experience the excitement of F.I.R.S.T.. In always being there for us, it sometimes seems that if he wasn't one of our main mentors, our team would struggle to survive.

Someone like Mr. Arscheene who transcends mentoring and exudes such passion about what he does daily is a rare find. The most impressive way that Mr. Arscheene improves the lives of his students is how he provides advice. Whenever Mr. Arscheene is prompted with a question, he always replies with a question of his own which leads one to their own answer. Mr. Arscheene never had anything simply handed to him and he never hands anything to those who come to him, but instead sticks with you with a smile on his face as he watches you progress and learn. Many students can perfectly recite a phrase Mr. Arscheene often tells them: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

They say that the future lies in the hands of our generation, but if it weren’t for the generation before us, we wouldn’t have amazing leaders like Mr. Arscheene to learn from. Grasping knowledge is one thing, but retaining it and applying it to the real world can only be taught by those like Mr. Arscheene, the brightest and the best. He has faith in all and challenges the mind to infinite lengths. He is the catalyst of great thought and the inspiration for success. All of these attributes, along with so many more, make Mr. Arscheene truly worthy of this year’s Woodie Flowers Award.
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"As president, I believe that robotics can inspire young people to pursue science and engineering. And I also want to keep an eye on those robots in case they try anything."
— President Barack Obama

Last edited by Swan217 : 04-05-2006 at 09:10 PM. Reason: I can't believe the bloody kids left a typo like that...
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