Championship Chairman's Preview

Alright folks, this one is going to be a bit different.

I have read the essay and watched the video for every Chairman’s winning team on the FIRST website. I’ve read some of them multiple times. It’s extremely clear that whoever takes home the Chairman’s Award at the last scheduled single Championship event is going to be setting a new bar.

I’m not going to go through every team. I’m not even going to talk about some programs that I found incredibly inspiring. I’m going to write about the three teams that, based on the criteria and what I understand about competing for the Championship Chairman’s Award, are what I consider the front runners. At this level, all the “basics” are pretty much assumed, so I’m going to focus on the programs that make these teams unique.

In no particular order:

The first team is 1311. They are a team which has made incredible progress towards developing and implementing a model to make FIRST available, sustain-ably, via educational programs in their state. This is in addition to starting 30% of the FRC teams in their state, and all the other trimmings of a traditional “Chairman’s Team.” If you want measurable impact on their community, 1311 has it in spades. Watching their video and reading their essay, the clarity and realism of their vision is impressive. If they don’t win it now, they will once they’re even further along in implementing their 21st century education model. Anyone interested in team sustainability should talk to these guys and read their essay-- they’ve clearly put a ton of thought into the problem and I think a lot of people (including, potentially, FIRST HQ) could learn a lot from them.

The second team is 987. Read their essay. The High Rollers are impressive not only because of the incredible things they’ve achieved-- working very closely with CUYRA to build a sustainable FIRST program in China, developing a STEM academy within their school that produces STEM workforce-ready students, and working closely with their state to spread their model, but also the long odds they’ve faced from the beginning. They’ve gotten a lot of hype on here for being next “on the list,” and it’s all for good reason.

The last team is 3132, Thunder Down Under. In terms of scale, this team beats everyone. They’ve worked with their sponsors, school, and FIRST to create a sustainable FIRST program that embraces under-represented groups in their country and around the world. They’ve built FLL, FTC, and FRC up across their nation and are helping to expand their model around the world. Reading their essay is mind boggling for how much they’ve accomplished. FIRST for everyone, everywhere, isn’t just a phrase in their Chairman’s essay, it’s clearly at the core of this team.

I know there’s another thread for this, but I wanted to complete the Chairman’s previews for this year. Congratulations to everyone who competed for the award this year, and especially for those that won at a District, Regional, or District Championship level. You guys inspire all of us. I look forward to seeing the winner on Saturday-- whoever it is, they’ll have earned it. Best of luck to everyone at Championships!

There’s an insane amount of qualified and amazing programs out there. 2486, 604 and 503 all hopefully have a place in the Hall of Fame some time soon, in addition to all of the teams you listed and many more.