Crafting A Winning Woodie Flowers Essay

Hi there! Back in 2008 I created a guide called “Five Steps Toward A Winning Woodie Flowers Award Essay”. It was viewed a lot and I’m told it helped some teams. That’s neat! I’ve also been told by a lot of students that they “can’t write” or that they feel they aren’t great at writing. That is less neat.

Since then I’ve edited many WFA/WFFA/Chairman’s essays, grant submissions, college applications, etc. from students. It led to this two-part guide that leads you through figuring out what to write, outlining, drafting, editing, and even common writing mistakes. Though much of this guide is geared toward WFA/WFFA submissions, that’s because I have a goal to not only help the FIRST community become better writers and communicators, but also to increase the number of overall submissions for the Woodie Flowers Award. This writing method and the grammar/help guide still apply to almost any kind of essay you may write in your lifetime - even dissertations and heck, really long emails.

I sincerely hope this helps you realize that you can be a great writer. I wish you the best of luck with your submissions. My inbox is always open if you would like someone to help you edit your essay.

Kind regards,

Crafting a Winning FRC Woodie Flowers Award Essay.pdf (1.1 MB)

FIRST Awards Submissions - Grammar Guide.pdf (850.4 KB)



You are fighting a lonely, worthy and uphill battle!

T. Wolter
(who learned his grammar in the mid 20th century!)


This guide is so incredibly valuable. Anytime you can take a complicated task and break it down into manageable and logical steps, it becomes that much less overwhelming. For the mentors out there who are working on Dean’s List nominations, I highly recommend following this same process.


I am so glad to see this bumped!

@Amanda_Morrison, as a student I followed all of these tips and my mentor, @Kevin_Kolodziej, won a WFFA award at the Wisconsin Regional.

Upon graduation, I mentored other students through this process and they were highly successful (representing another 4 different WFFA from various teams and regionals around the Midwest). I’ve done Dean’s List Finalist essays in a similar way as well.

Y’all, this process works! Please take a look at her tips and engage with Amanda for editing support. It’s well worth your time!


Thanks for posting this comprehensive guide. Many of the suggestions may be adapted for the other award application essays such as for the Dan’s List and Chairman’s Awards.

Some of the proofing tools in MS WORD are a nice complement to the techniques that @Amanda_Morrison makes. Aiming for a Fleischer reading score of around 6th Grade has given good results for some of the user manuals I have contributed to at work. The score gives the writer an indication if they are using sentences that are too long and/or sentence structures that are unnecessarily complex. I often select paragraphs to run the proofing tools on so the results are focused on that paragraph. Otherwise, in longer documents, it can be difficult to identify the problematic parts.

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