Concerned Parent, 10 days to Chairman's submission

My child just got put in charge of the Chairman’s submission today, which the teamhasn’t been started yet. It’s the first year of doing FRC. Looking at the information on this site, it sounds like it should have been started in mid-December. :ahh:

What advice can I give to help the team through this? What resources will the team need to complete this in time? I already forwarded the really good Chairman’s information that Team 1114 put online.


Run it by an outside party before submitting.

Best advice, help the kid(s) get organized. Sit down with them and brainstorm some of the team’s activities that you want to highlight in the essay, and the short answer questions. There probably will be some “homework” of tracking down information of what events happened, how many people were there, what was the impact etc.

As far as manpower to meet the deadline, I have 2 students working on it now on a Google Doc. Seems to be working out ok with the 2 of them in the same document, just working on different sections at a time.

Leave time for editing, the character counts can be tricky to get just right. I’d recommend editing in smaller sections at a time, and the commenting function in Docs or Word works very nicely for this.

Best of luck.

Is this the team’s first year for FRC or your child’s? How well does your child know the team?

You’ve maybe already located this resource but just in case:

The team’s been around forever. This is her first year. She’s shown leadership, which is why I think she got it.

Has the team submitted before? If so, does she have access to those resources?

The questions and essay are supposed to focus on the team’s recent history, but if you have last year’s submission at hand, it should be pretty straightforward to update it for this year.

One word of advice, please don’t rush through the submission. Make sure you have everything in the essay and video you want and double check from an outside source. I.E. Have another parent or teacher read over everything for spelling, grammar, and such. Also, please relax don’t stress over Chairmans, while yes it is an amazing award and great achievement, make sure they have fun doing it.

Yes, they’ve submitted before and those docs were reviewed yesterday. The thing is that They have been running a couple of programs for years that have been getting better. But they’ve presented it previous years and so the judges think they know what team is presenting (but it’s really quite different). So they were hoping to do something a little different this year.

Thanks for the advice! I tell my kids “don’t turn a small disaster into a larger one”. In other words, take a deep breath, do what’s necessary, and have fun?

Yep even with something as mundane as Chairman’s. Have them go off the wall (or in a better analogy) go outside the box with the video. Last year we based our Chairman’s video off of an episode of “Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and had the kids write their own script in context to the episode. Can’t remember for the life of me which one it was though.

Doing something different sounds like a great idea, if there’s the time to effectively execute on that. To me, it sounds like there’s probably not. Either way, there’s not a lot of time, so the student needs to quickly decide on a direction to go (old submission with tweaks, or some major rewrites, or totally new submission, etc.) and then go unequivocally in that direction.

The best advice I can give: have your child get a partner or two who have knowledge of the team and can write well.

Break up the work. Spilt up the mini essays and someone take on the larger essay.

Focus on what’s due now. Only focus on the essays. The video and the presentation can be done after the essays are done. The video can be edited on the way to your first competition. These essays will make or break you! Spilt up the work and put your head down and just… write.

Take a deep breath and start writing.

This is also A+ advice.

Highly recommend the detailed Compass Alliance Pathway located here:


The Chairmans Award is indeed a bug deal that takes alot of work if you wish to change alot. As many people have said, it is most likely best to update last years info at this point, (with only 10 days left), And if you come up with good ideas along the way, you can always write them down for next year.

I hope this helps,
Zach G
FRC Team 4944 awards lead.

And if you have any questions feel free to email my team at and we are more than happy to help. (Just make sure to put chairmans help in the subject so it comes to me and not just bypassed to spam)

I know this might be a non-popular opinion, but if the Chairman’s Award submission process hasn’t started yet, you might stand back and ask yourself some simple questions:

(1) Have what you done the past season gone “above and beyond” your previous season’s accomplishments?

(2) Do you feel like there’s something you’ve done that clearly separates you from the rest of the teams where you’re competing?

(3) Do you have everything else done (Entrepreneurship Award materials, Scouting materials, Woodie Flowers Essays, etc…) that you can possibly do?

Unless you can say an emphatic “yes” to all three questions, this might be the season where you don’t submit for Chairman’s. I remember the advice I got at an event where Glenn Lee was at where he said 359 only submitted for Chairman’s when they felt they had an absolute fighting chance to win Chairman’s.

Think about it!

The hardest part about the chairman’s essays the coherent communication of what the team has done. I would suggest the student learn the team history going back as far as anyone can remember, taking many notes along the way. For the essays themselves, themes are ok but gimmicks probably aren’t. The essays should almost write themselves, even if there are only a few sentences.

If there is anything that the team has not considered, use those as a premise for future plans. Discuss those plans with the team, and put those in the essays as well.

After that there should be a round or two or twelve of proofreading.

Most teams plan all year with an eye toward submitting for chairman’s. It isn’t something you decide to do 2 weeks before the deadline and not something I would hand to a rookie member who is new to the team and unfamiliar with Chairman’s.

As others have pointed out - Chairman’s submissions are not required by FIRST. You may want to find out what the motivation is by the team for submitting for chairman’s. Is there a grant requirement that the team needs to fulfill? (NASA grants require a Chairman submission)

The other suggestion about looking at past submissions is very good. The format doesn’t change much and then it’s just a matter of updating activities of the team over the past year. Two weeks may be sufficient to accomplish this but a new member needs support from someone who has been around a little longer that can provide this information.

Only the essay is due by the deadline. The video is handed in at the competition on a jump drive. Focus on the essay.

Good Luck.


Thanks for standing up for the dissenting opinion. We will carefully consider that.