To all whose lives have been touched by Sarah Le,
It is with a heavy heart that I have the honor of beginning the celebration of the life of Sarah Le, as Sarah passed away this Friday evening, June 13 2014. Those of us who feel the closest to Sarah choose to celebrate her life, rather than dwell on her death, and we ask that you do the same. While we will all mourn the loss of our dear friend, we are more thankful that she chose to share a part of her life with us and want to celebrate the time that we were fortunate enough to spend with her. Therefore, I ask that those who knew Sarah please share a glimpse of how Sarah touched your lives. I would like to be the first to do this.
Sarah came to Austin, Texas from her home state of Colorado about 6 years ago. She helped found and mentor FRC team 3320, “Miracles and Machines”, out of a troubled East-Side school. Under her (and her fellow mentors) leadership, the team won the well-deserved Rookie Inspiration Award. She was a mentor for the team for several more years, until she decided to focus more on helping to grow the FIRST organization and help support the efforts of FIRST in Texas and nationally. She was a Head Referee for the FIRST Tech Challenge competition in Austin, she shared her experience in FIRST LEGO League, and began her “reign” as a referee in the FIRST Robotics Competition. She was also a coordinator for the first-ever Austin FRC Kickoff event, an instrumental part of running the Texas Robot Roundup (the first organized off-season FRC event in Texas), and generally an incredibly fun person to be around. Sarah selflessly volunteered her time at every opportunity she could, eventually being a referee at multiple Texas FRC regionals in the past couple years and at the Championship event. In 2014, Sarah was the Head Referee at the Alamo, Lubbock, and Dallas FRC Regionals AND was a Head Referee on the Curie Field at Championships. The highlight of her FRC career, as she said, was being able to be a referee on the Einstein field this year.
Outside of robotics (is that possible?) I will remember Sarah pulling a Royal Flush on her first-ever night of playing Texas Hold’em at my house. “Does this flush beat your hand?” was her question, as we all sat with our mouths wide open. She loved the race cars at K1 Speed here in Austin, loved her boyfriend Joe Daily, and was an avid videogame player.
The last thing I physically said to Sarah was that I was absolutely going to be a ScoreKeeper at the Texas Robot Roundup this year, as Sarah was the volunteer coordinator and Head Referee for the event. I received an email from her on Wednesday discussing the fact that she wanted to wait until after TRI before deciding upon any rule changes for TRR.
I will miss Sarah’s boundless energy for FIRST and anything related to it. I always thought that I was hard-core in my volunteer levels with FIRST, but she showed me just what hard-core really meant. I am fortunate that I was allowed to spend time with Sarah Le, to be able to get to know her, and to see her succeed. I will always count myself as a very lucky person to have been able to be a part of her journey.