|The closest thing to "Senior Mentor" we have is "Team Grandma". :) - Alan Anderson [more]|
Name: Mike Walker
Date Honored: 10-01-2008
Years involved w/FIRST: 7
FIRST Team(s): ASRC/Boeing &, Astronaut &, Titusville High School (0021), Siemens Power Generation &, Winter Park Robotics, Inc (1902)
Role: Mentor, Event Volunteer,
Quote: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. -Margaret Mead
Bio: From time to time people come along in FIRST who start out small and just seem to fall into place as the years roll on; mike is one of those people. Having started out as a student on team 21 even back in high school the community should have predicted great things from him as in 10th Grade when he “saw the major flaws in the documentation and support FIRST was providing for teams swapping from PBasic to C” and wrote one of the first white papers on using the edubot.
Since that time he has seen needs and made every attempt to fill them. As a freshman in college he was the first team member to be on the Florida Regional Committee acting as a voice for all the Florida teams. Since taking over the role as Volunteer coordinator a few years ago he has helped to get more team members from the community involved as well.
There are numerous ways in which he volunteers his time at events, with his team, and even designing a game last minute when faced with a weather catastrophe at an off season event.
When asked about one of his biggest accomplishments in FIRST he replied that “This season I got to see my first group of students who I have worked with their entire FIRST career go off to college, it's pretty amazing when you think 'Wow, I've worked with these kids for 3 years on a team that didn't exist when I started in FIRST.'”
Knowing his experience with numerous teams we asked Mike to tell us how he describes FIRST to people who don't know. Jokingly he replied “It's the best way to test out a relationship. If he/she is still with you at the end of a build/competition season, put a ring on their finger.” He continued on to say that “it's a way to work with people you will find you have the utmost respect for even when you disagree with them. It's a way of finding both a family and a purpose, neither of which, I would argue, the majority of people ever achieve.”
Finally we asked what advice he would offer to other mentors who are involved in FIRST. “There is a side of life we often forget about when we get swamped with the busyness of life. There is something students can remind you about regularly. Sometimes hurricanes hit and sometimes autonomous learns how to perfectly match your attempts to dodge it as it flies at full speed. If you aren't able to turn around laughing there's something missing. Sometimes the most important thing to do is Oink with everything you have got.”
Congratulations Mike for being selected as an Unsung FIRST Hero keep up the good work and.....Oink! Oink! Boom!
Nominated By: Billfred
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