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Name: Alan Ostrow
Date Honored: 11-15-2004
Years involved w/FIRST: 6
FIRST Team(s): Rohm &, Haas Company/BAE Systems/Johnson &, Johnson PRD/Siemens Corporation/DeVry University &, Wissahickon High School &, North Montco Technical Career Center (0341)
Role: Team Leader and Royal Pain
Quote: “The adventure is its own reward- but it’s necessarily dangerous…..”, Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth
Bio: Al Ostrow serves as the dynamic mentor on Team 341, Miss Daisy. He started the team in 1999 and has since assisted with the beginnings of many rookie teams. He also had a large hand in the well-known offseason event, the Ramp Riot.
Al's advice to FIRSTers was short, sweet, and rung a little too true: "There are very few problems in life that can’t be solved with wire ties, duct tape and the Machinery’s Handbook." Although team 341 uses a little more than those materials, their mentor recalls some of his favorite memories with their well-crafted bots in competition. "During our rookie year at the 2000 Philly Regional our machine had a complete collapse right before the playoffs. Team 272 (Lansdale Catholic) and Team 56 (Boundbrook H.S.) rallied our team to make an emergency hanging device in less than an hour. We had about eight pairs of hands, all from different teams working on the machine at the same time. From outside it looked like chaos, but what was happening was pure harmony. They taught our team a valuable lesson about helping others and never giving up! When the playoffs began, there we stood, three schools together in the stands cheering for a common goal, as friends, not rivals. It taught me everything I needed to know about FIRST.
Another wonderful experience was at the 2001 Championship. That year we had two, very outgoing, deaf students on our team. I remember going out on a mission to find a part and when I returned to the pit there were about 10 deaf students sitting on the floor of the pit signing to each other. For the next 3 days our pit became a meeting area for a very large group of deaf FIRST competitors. The sight of all those kids in different colored shirts signing to each other was something I will always remember. This was the first time I realized how the FIRST experience extends so far beyond the machines that we build. These experiences have hooked me into FIRST forever. And the most amazing thing is that every year some new experience happens that renews my belief in this competition."
Al and his fellow mentors also have an outstanding record of accomplishments. "Any accomplishment mentioned here is truly the work of many. My co-coaches Dina Campagna and Jim Haine along with an amazing crew of students, parents and sponsors make this team a model for others. You also could not succeed in FIRST without the help of many other caring teams. We have received tremendous assistance from teams 103, 225, 272, 316, 357, 365, 484, and 1218. Thanks to all of them! That being said, I have listed below some of our greatest accomplishments.
1) The growth of our off-season competition “Ramp Riot” is a deep source of pride. We started in 2000 with 7 teams in an empty gym and now boast 28 teams, 1500 fans, a food charity drive and a major rock station as part of the event.
2) Of course, being a National Honorable Mention and Two Time Regional Chairman’s Award Team has a very special meaning for our team.
3) Winning the 2003 Galileo Division with a 100% student built machine also ranks up there among our best moments.
4) Another amazing accomplishment happened quietly last year as several of our original members came back to volunteer at FIRST Regionals and to mentor our younger students. Seeing these kids come back from their busy college lives to volunteer for FIRST says it all."
Congratulations to Alan Ostrow, our next do-it-all-mentor-extraordinare Unsung FIRST Hero.
Nominated By: OneAngryDaisy
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