ATTENTION STUDENT LEADERS - Submit your Woodie Flowers Awards

Student team leaders and veterans, this thread is for you. We need to have a little talk.

Adults, you can just click “back” and continue to browse the next thread. Go on, teachers, engineers, mentors and parents, there is nothing for you to read here. This means you. Go away, please.

Good… they are gone.

You all have many things happening right now. You have responsibilities. Schoolwork is piling up, scholarship applications are due, and a robot has to be shipped in 2 weeks. This is a stressful time. Some of you even have part time jobs to pay for future schooling and current transportation. With these things, you have the added responsibility of being a FIRST team leader.

With this leadership role comes responsibility. Even though you have all of these other things to do, it is also your job to see to it that your team submits a Woodie Flowers Award. Maybe you have already started the process of picking a candidate, as Andrew Blair and team 306 did.

Get with your other students, and choose the adult mentor who most inspires your team. Do they communicate things well to your team? How do they effectively describe engineering principles? How do they teach you basics? Do they creatively show you their expertise? This adult can be ANY mentor on your team. PLEASE do not overlook your teachers here, as they are eligible also.

You still have 2 weeks to finish your 600 word essay entry. The deadline for the Woodie Flowers Award is 11:59pm EST, Feb. 23rd. Go to to begin your entry. You can actually enter information, pictures, and a partial essay… then hit “save” and come back to your entry later. You will just need to finish and hit “submit” before the deadline.

For the past 2 years, only 20% of FIRST teams submitted an entry for the Woodie Flowers Award. Some regionals have only a handful of nominations out of 30 attending teams. This number should be much higher. Why is it so low? Only 20% of past student leaders did their job… their responsibility to give recognition to that one person who makes the biggest impact and sacrifice to the students. You guys and gals are better than the past student leaders. Make your mark. Make this the year that 50% of the teams submitted entries. Make the effort to give recognition to your teacher, engineer, parent or other mentor who help you out daily. Even if they don’t get awarded a Woodie Flowers Finalist Award at your regional, you can still read them your essay and change their life forever.

If you need any help with this, you can contact me (PM or email) and/or the other past Championship WFA winners for advice and input. We will give general advice, but not editing and quotes. For more detailed help, get your other students involved. Also, feel free to get other mentors (on your team and others) involved for input and editing. All in all, this is your chance to bring recognition to the person who is making a huge impact on your life… this is your chance to shine some light on them.

Good luck and keep up the good work,
Andy Baker

20%?!?!? 20%. Are you kidding me? I knew the number was low, but not that low. The Woodie Flowers Award nomination is the greatest gift students can give a mentor. To be nominated by students you care so much about and work so hard for is an amazing honor. For those student leaders who have not yet initiated the nomination process, I ask this: why?

Do you not have a mentor you think deserves recognition for their hard work and dedication? I doubt it.

Do you have a mentor that tells you they don’t want to be nominated? If this is the case, then I give you authorization to not listen to your mentor on this one. Nominate them!

The nomination is better than 1,000 thank-yous and high fives. The nomination is proof that the mentor has influenced you enough to take the time to write about it.

Please, take the time to write the nomination.


February…What a great time for a letter from the members’ hearts that will honor one of their mentors. This is a wonderful opportunity to let your leaders know that you care. Take a look at your mentors in the next few days…tired, stressed and sick of pizza. However, they hang in there for YOU, the team.

As you are sitting there during some down time, get a few members together. Read the criteria for the award and then brainstorm. The hardest part is deciding which mentor should get the award. A quiet individual poll of team members will answer that. But NOMINATE SOMEONE ! It is February, let them KNOW THAT YOU CARE. (can you tell that I just went shopping for a Valentine’s Day card for someone special?

People are asked “what is your favorite FIRST moment?” and lots of people say there are so many, they can’t pick one…I can…When I heard my name and my team’s name called out from the stage at Disney World as the Winner of the National Woodie Flowers Award. What a moment. My team got together on their own, wrote an unbelievably great essay, got it passed in on time, and did it all without me knowing it happened!!! WOW!!!

You can do that for someone on your team too! At this time you may be starting to think about thank you gifts…you CAN NOT top this gift to anyone…a nomination as your team’s WFA. Our team always celebrates the last FIRST competition we compete in by getting together and reading the WFA essay to our nominee. It is a very special time where we are truly a team, united in our admiration for our nominee. Make it your tradition. Get your nomination in now!

Through 30 years of teaching I’ve heard the same refrain…“I love science, I love math but I can’t stand my language classes”.

Well enough is enough. Get over it.

Scientists, engineers and technologists share certain skill sets. These skill sets include math and science literacy, and the ability to use the “Minds eye” to envision complex relationships. These shared skills also include the ability to communicate and share ideas.

In fact, one might be hard pressed to put that particular competency anywhere other than the top of the list of shared skills.

Has Dean ever been at a loss for words? Not!

One of my favorite examples of great communicators, Richard Fenyman, Nobel Prize Physics 1965, authored lectures and books that inspired thousands of young scientists and engineers. Want to read the writings of a great communicator, look no further than a collection of Fenyman’s physics lectures. Want to read an inspiring biography…read his.

And of course there are many many more great examples.

OK, so I know good writing can be taxing, and there are no adjectives in algebra, but it is an essential skill, and the hallmark of successful scientists and engineers.

In order to help first students craft clear and concise WFA nominations, I cobbled together a WFA writing guide that I hope will be of help to the young authors who make the effort to honor some deserving mentors.

Think of this as a “White Paper” on writing a WFA nomination. This is good advice that has been gleaned from some very smart people. (People other than myself) Please, accept it as a gift, and use it to create a wonderful and loving gift for someone on your team.

Remember, every team can choose their own WFA recipient. That’s the special prize, knowing the people you love and care for, received some joy from your efforts. So share the joy and let those special mentors know that you know they are special, appreciated and loved.

And show the WFA judges that you can engineer a great nomination, with the same passion and commitment you put into engineering a great robot!

All the best and I look forward to reading about the marvelous mentors on your team.

The words of each WFA winner in this thread ring true. Hopefully, mine will too. We all know that the R in FIRST is for Recognition.

At FIRST competitions, numerous trophies, medallions and banners are awarded by FIRST. Clearly, this action is a form of recognition. In fact, this recognition is very special recognition that highlights some special achievement. Many teams present peer awards as a form of recognition of the effort another team. Even the exchanging of buttons, pins, dog tags … is a form of recognizing the value in a fellow competitor by a willingness to exchange a little of what you have for a little of what they have.

Even if your team has been in FIRST from the beginning and you have never been awarded a FIRST trophy (SPECIAL recognition) - the need for you and your team has been recognized! Dean and Woodie conceived FIRST before there was even one team. They recognized the need for you before you ever knew about it. A few short years from now, FIRST will be older than any student on a FIRST team. So Dean, Woodie and FIRST will have recognized the need for you before you were even born. The referees, judges and all the volunteers at the competition recognize the need for you by donating their time to help with the events. Similarly, the sponsors recognize the need for you by opening their checkbooks.

Now, let’s turn the tables. There are over 1100 FIRST teams this year. How many would exist without mentors? The WFA is the one unique opportunity to recognize one of the mentors on your team in a formal way. It does not cost a dime. The format is already in place and it is simply a matter of you taking the opportunity presented to you. 20% submittal rate is sad. Think what grade you would have received on your last test if you had managed only 20% correct.

Also, about 90% of the 2005 teams returned for 2006 and another 200 teams are new to the competition this year. If 90% of the ~1000 teams of 2005 returned, about 100 teams did not. Why? I am certain there are a number of reasons, but it would be very unfortunate if it was because the students didn’t take the time to recognize the efforts of the mentors.

Take the time - submit one of your mentors for the WFA.


HA! I had to pick my self up off the floor after seeing that every single respondant to this thread is a WFA winner!

Thanks for the reminder! C’mon everybody 600 words is nothing.

Yeah, I must echo that. It is a pain though, trying to get everything you want out. Its @#@#@#@#-near impossible to do so.
But this 600 word essay can be done in a half-an-hour. It is not that hard, but if you truly care, take a couple hours out of your build season and write about the mentor that makes this all possible for you or the mentor that teaches/taught you how to do the simplest tasks or the mentor that spreads FIRST to everyone he or she possibly can. Remember guys, if your mentor wasn’t there, odds are, you wouldn’t be either.

as did I.

A few of the my fellow team mates and I are considering doing it for next year. It’s just that we arent the best of writers. But I think I maybe getting some much needed pratice over the summer (taking freshman comp, instead of highschool english 4) and will learn the proper way of writting somehting like this. =]

Best of luck to all!

You don’t have to be perfect to show your appreciation.
You just have to care enough to give it a try. Your mentors will appreciate the effort alot.

Yeah, my English is definitely less than spectacular. But just showing the mentors some appreciation, no matter how poorly worded, is good enough to overcome that.

Last year 177 missed the deadline for WFA…however, this year we are much on top of things and hopefully we will have an awesome essay.

Also, heres a tip: Don’t give the job to just one person, it is really a team effort. We are having 4 or 5 kids contribute to the process to help get different ideas and a better essay. remember: there might be a few English teachers in the school who will be willing to read your paper and give it a couple of comments. it never hurts to ask…

Not good at writing? Need some proofreading? Get your English teacher to look it over. Get some other mentors to look it over. Get help from your parents, mentors, friends, anybody. Amanda Morrison has even offered a 24-hour turnaround on proofreading help for the WFA and Chairman’s Award.

** Let your mentors, engineers and teachers know how much you appreciate their time, effort and dediciation.**

And, if for some reason they don’t win the WFA, copy and paste it into to the Unsung FIRST Heroes nomination screen – recognition is great, no matter how it is given.

English teacher? I know one of those :wink:
In all seriousness, I’m here to help too.
Like Brandon and all of the esteemed WFA winners have said, do not let the thought of “Oh we can’t win” prevent you from recognizing someone who deserves it. All entries can be turned into UFH entries and they also can be turned into a gift for the mentor. FIRST mentors dedicate more time to their cause than any other group I’ve ever seen. Please don’t let this opportunity to recognize go by.

Yes, you don’t have to be PERFECT.

No excuses.

I’ve found that many people get frustrated over the “I don’t know how to put into words how they have affected our lives” aspect. I suggest thinking about the entry analytically.

Read old entries, and study the trends. Follow the criteria in the manual. Once you’re done with that part, the area that comes from the heart becomes much more manageable.

There is no need for the past winners to talk about how awesome it is, everyone besides the rookies should already know. 20% response either means that the FIRST Community is “voting with their feet” (aka, showing their opinion about their award by not submitting an entry), or they’re making excuses. And honestly, with how high the award is held by everyone involved, the first option isn’t even valid.

If you have the time to be caught up on Delphi and the Q&A forum, then you have time to go write a WFA entry. Get it read by multiple sources (I would also be willing to read to make sure you’re getting the most out of your entry and best highlighting all of your mentor’s hard work), and then just send it in.

No more excuses. Go! Write! Now! :slight_smile:

PS - Dear FIRST, I would love to see a WFA parade.

I Still want the WFA winners to be enshrined in the FIRST Hall of Fame with all of those great teams. They deserve to be there!

If you haven’t submitted yet…or started…do it soon! Only 2 days left! Remember all the good times and learning experiences you’ve had with your mentor these past 6 weeks, do the right thing and take some time out of your life, to give your mentor the respect they deserve.

This is the nicest present you could give someone.

Next to shipping the robot this is the most important thing you can do. OK, there are a few other things that are important but this is really important. I know so many deserving mentors and teachers that should be recognized by their students. Do them a great service and make the submission. Can’t get started? Just start listing all the things your mentor has done for you and the team. The rest will come pretty easy once you start.
No excuses, now, I know you can do it.