Posted by Ken Leung at 02/22/2001 12:59 AM EST
Student on team #192, Gunn Robotics Team, from Henry M. Gunn Senior High School.
Please excuse my long message, but I had to share my feelings about this.
"As you all know I don¡¦t go to this high school. I actually go to college. And tonight will be my last night here. I want to thank GRT for letting me work here and giving me such a great time. These 8 weeks have been the best time I¡¦ve ever spent in my live. For those of you who I¡¦ve work with, thank you for putting up with me and how annoying I am. I¡¦ve learn a lot from here, and you all have been really good friends to me. At the beginning I thought I can just come in and show off how to do this and that, but finally, I now have to face the fact that you all are better than me in everyway. It¡¦s been a pleasure. (You all make it really hard for me to imagine weekends without being in GRT)
Now¡K we still have around 14 hours before shipping. So¡K LET¡¦S FINISH THIS!¡¨
This is what I said to my team with my usual nervous speedy voice the night before shipping. I decided to attempt such a speech because it was really my last time spend time at GRT building a robot. You see, unlike other college students who either drive or go to school near their team, I have to spend 3 hours in public transportation to go back every weekend. But I never minded that. Ever since the end of last season I¡¦ve already decided that it will all be worth it¡K and it really did worth all my time.
As I was walking around the room and the shop that weekend looking at the students working with all their heart on the robot, I realized how important the whole experience have been to me personally¡K
At the beginning of high school, I was this little no-body from Hong Kong walking around campus with no one to talk to. It was a really bad time as I kept getting C¡¦s and D¡¦s in school. Then the best thing happened to me when I joined GRT. It gave me the magic in my hand and my mind to change the way things are. Suddenly I can actually speak and read English, there are people around me who I can talk to, and ply wood pieces are bandsaw-ed to the right shape. Second year was even better when I mastered the art of machining with mill and lathe, while I got to be friends with many team members.
But this year is the best year for me, as I learn about 10 times the previous two years combined. Ever since I¡¦ve been truly exposed to the FIRST community by Kick off and online communication in this forum, I find myself much strongly attached to GRT during production. This past 6 weeks is a completely new magic to me. Instead of changing myself, I am now changing the people around me. I am able to pass on my knowledge of engineering and machining by simply be around and talk to the students. By being an observer at the side, I am able to watch the effect of this competition on the students and how it changes life. I learn so much by being a teacher instead of a student.
Through out all these I am able to be really close to the students AND the adults, a thing I never would¡¦ve done by myself. I am extremely thankful to everyone for providing me this chance. So, that¡¦s why I decided to say thanks and good-bye to the team with my little speech. Although I panicked a lot when I was standing on the balanced bridge speaking to everyone, I believe I got through to the student enough that they actually understand how much I appreciate all these.
But there was one thing that they don¡¦t understand. They didn¡¦t understand that right before I gave that speech, the sadness of leaving the team was so strong that I almost shed tears in front of everyone¡K