[FRC Blog] Celebrate the Class of 2023

Posted on the FRC Blog, 2023-05-09 by Michelle Long

Celebrate the Class of 2023

2023 MAY 09 Written by Michelle Long, Director of Alumni Relations

Hello!

My job at FIRST ® HQ is everything after high school – education, enlistment, employment – whatever your next steps are, it’s my job to help you in getting there. This time of year, that means GRADUATION.

Class of 2023: CONGRATULATIONS. We, across FIRST, are so proud of all that you have accomplished so far and all that you will accomplish in the future. You have made it through the most tumultuous years of high school that anyone could imagine. We are so proud to have you as a member of the FIRST community, and we look forward to being with you as you step into adulthood and become a FIRST alum.

To celebrate and recognize your new status as a FIRST alum, I hope that you’ll join in on FIRST Signing Day on Instagram on May 17 so that we can celebrate everything you’ve accomplished on your FIRST teams and everything you’ll do next!

What’s FIRST Signing Day?

FIRST Signing Day is an initiative originally conceived in 2016 by FIRST ® Robotics Competition Team 2468, Team Appreciate, to celebrate and recognize graduating seniors. Since 2020, we have been partnering with 2468 to host FIRST Signing Day.

This year, join us on May 17 to celebrate FIRST graduates across the globe with shout-outs, congratulations, and signings from teams and supporters! Join us on May 17, by posting your team’s signing, individuals celebrating their next steps, or your community sharing their congratulations to the Class of 2023 with #FIRSTSigningDay.

Seriously, congratulations!

Whether your next steps after high school are going to college, enlisting, or straight into a career FIRST is proud of what you’ve accomplished during your time on teams and are excited to welcome you as FIRST alumni.

Be sure also to check out the resources below designed to help you successfully navigate life as a FIRST alum:

Have any questions? Or ideas for things we can improve? Send me an email at mlong@firstinspires.org.

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:saluting_face: 6 years, 2018 to 2023. From losing Newton finals as a 3rd pick to losing Johnson finals as a first pick its been crazy. Now onto A&M.

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:sob::sob::sob: 5 years, 2019-2023. Climbed 105 ranks in NE and qualified my team for DCMP for the first time in 15 years. it’s been crazy y’all.

committed to umich! go blue!

it’s not goodbye, it’s see you around (in FiM!!!) :sob:

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This year’s graduating class deserves all of the applause. Most of them were the ones who stuck through FRC during the toughest of times, and those among this group on my own team have earned my highest gratitude. Going into the summer of 2021, there were just a few of them, and our team captain ('22), who were the students on my team. They made me feel welcomed, and over the next year it was through their efforts that our team grew to over 20+ members with a strong sense of community.

As they graduate shortly, I am left wondering how we are going to move forward, as the last of the students who were on the team when I joined will soon be moving on. I look to our upcoming Team Captain who I knew from FTC back in 2019, and who joined FRC shortly after me as well as several of the other students who are now going to be the leaders in the future. As I do this, I look to the example that The Class of 2023 has set in my mind.

As our team end of season banquet (it sounds a lot more fancy than it really is) approaches in the next week, it is the time to celebrate all that they have accomplished, and all which they soon will. However, it is not just them I congratulate, but also all of the other students graduating from FRC this year across the globe who may be reading this, and although I do not know most of you, I am certain that the younger students of your teams are also feeling the same way as I am for my own graduates. I am a little scared for how I will feel when I will be in your shoes just 2 short years from now, so all I can say in Congratulations Class of 2023, your accomplishments and perseverance will always be remembered as long as this wonderful FIRST community lives on. (FIRST events will always need volunteers, and teams will always need mentors, so for many of you it is not over yet!)

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:saluting_face: 7 years, 2016 - 2023. Started in FTC in 2016, led my team to wining our qualifying tournament and wining judges award at state in 2017-18, to being top 10 in our league and being finalist alliance at quals in 2018-19. I moved then to my high schools FRC team in 2020 and vecame the team captain 2022 to 2023 helping our team win imagery award in 2022 to being the captain of the 5th place alliance at the 2023 10k Lakes Regional. I was nominated amd won Dean’s List Finalist in 2022. Along the way i was a ambassador, representative, and now admin of LGBTQ+ of FIRST and one of the founders of the Minnesota Rainbow Robotics Inclusivity Alliance.

Now im committed to the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities for biomedical engineering!

This is not a goodbye, this is a see you soon as a volunteer in the coming years. FTC teams know me as a FTA and MC.

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6 years, 2017-2023 Started on team 6529 from the end of 2017 to 2020 team shut down in 2020, moved to 2423 last season got to my first playoff berth, and went triple silver. Competed at Districts this year which on my old team we couldn’t even go if we qualified because of funding. Im so glad I got to experience this.

onto NCAT, Aggie Pride

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Congrats to the rest of the Class of 2023 for making it this far!! Even with 2 of my seasons being online because of COVID, I would not be who I am today without everything this program has done for me. I never thought I would hold a leadership role, never thought I would be nominated for something like Dean’s List, never thought I could handle everything that came with being the driver, and so much more. Yet here I am today, an entirely different person than when I joined 2910 4 years ago. And I’m forever grateful for everything.

Despite the mildly rough end to our official season in terms of stats, what I’ll actually remember in years to come is having my last 6 matches be the best I’ve ever driven, leaving the season with 2 PNW teams by my side, and genuinely having the energy to meet teams and watch matches, even after what should have been a rough week. To every student, mentor, team, and volunteer I’ve ever interacted with on or off the field, thank you for making my time here one I will cherish forever.

I’ve met some of the most incredible people and made unforgettable memories, both of which I’ll remember forever. Continuing all this at WPI, definitely as a volunteer and possibly as a mentor in the future, we’ll see where these next 4 years take me!

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