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Raul Olivera
Raul Olivera Name: Raul Olivera
Date Honored: 12-31-2004
Years involved w/FIRST: 9
FIRST Team(s): Motorola &, Rolling Meadows High School &, Wheeling High School (0111)
Role: Lead Engineer/Mentor
Quote: ďAnd in the end it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.Ē & ďAm I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?Ē
Bio: Raul Olivera is well known throughout FIRST. The dynamic mentor from Wildstang, Team 111, can constantly be seen helping other teams both at competitions and here on ChiefDelphi.

When asked about the many awards and recognitions his team has received, Raul was very modest. "OK, so I have led the design and engineering of our robots for 9 years, which led to many engineering awards, several appearances to event finals and a National championship. But, those are not my best accomplishments; they are only what feed the true mission of FIRST. I am proudest of the influence we have had on so many students, including my son. I have seen so many inspired by our guidance and their experiences in FIRST. So many were compelled to go to college, become truly good engineers and leaders and then come back to become mentors on themselves. Also, of great value to me are all the friends that I have made because of my involvement in FIRST."

Raul's favorite memory that sticks out includes a landmark in FIRST: the first use of alliances. "I have so many fond memories from experiences on FIRST that it is really hard to pick a favorite. One memory that stands out takes place at Nationals in 1999. This was the first year that alliances were used. We had seeded too low to pick a partner but knew we had a good chance of being chosen. Well, we were convinced that we had the best chance of winning if we were partnered with the TechnoKats. So, we had to convince them that they had to pick us. We had picked them at the Midwest regional but had neglected to pick them again at the Great Lake regional. But I had become good friends with Andy Baker by then and felt comfortable pleading with them. When the seeding matches were over, I grabbed Andy and proceeded to plead my case. They picked us and we got to within one win of winning Nationals. The other part that really sticks in my mind is how different FIRST competitions have been since that year when we started to pick alliances. Everyone has become so much more friendly and helpful."

Lastly, Raul shares with us what it's REALLY all about. "Warning, this is deeply philosophical. My advice - Donít let the idea of becoming rich and/or famous ruin your happiness. You are much wealthier right now than you think. You need to understand what wealth really means before you try to pursue it. Wealth exists in many forms and only through careful self evaluation will you appreciate this. The traditional idea of wealth is a measure of how much money or material assets you have. But for example, I know that most of the students who participate in FIRST are wealthier now than any billionaire who is lying on his death bed. That billionaire would gladly give up all his money to be where you are now. You see, your youth and health are worth more than that old dying manís billions. Count all your blessings!"

Congratulations to our 27th truly Unsung FIRST Hero, Raul Olivera.

Nominated By: confidential

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