I'd like to thank my mentors.

Before anyone says anything, I know FIRST retirees are not supposed to spend so much time on CD. I just happen to like y’all too much :slight_smile: (There I go saying y’all again, I blame the west coast sibling)

I’m up late, again, nervousness fueling insomnia, as I’m preparing to depart for Clarkson University as an EE Major. In doing so I reflected on my time in FIRST and I realized I owe a considerable amount of gratitude to the mentors of my team, 358. Each one has given me something valuable to carry with me to school, and through life.

First up, Mark McLeod, thanks for getting me on the team in the first place, and for teaching me how to work through problems step by step. Your lessons in design, and compromise have made a huge difference. Not only did you teach me better ways to form my designs, but you helped me get organized and keep things in a presentable form. You taught me how to work through a problem with analysis and thought instead of guessing. Most importantly you let me make my mistakes, and taught me how to find the fix instead of giving it to me. I’ve employed those lessons in personal projects already and I have no doubt they’ll guide me in school as well.

Next up, Scott Schuler, thanks for getting me off the computer and involved. You showed me that I don’t need a degree in six different types of engineering to help with everything. Your constant optimism and support, and candid opinions pushed me. You motivated me to work harder and do better, even when I already met the predefined goals. You showed me that even when all your skills lie in another area, you can always pick up something new and find a way to work it out. You’ve also provided me with a sense of confidence, working alongside you and the other mentors I felt like I was doing real work, not just menial chores. I’m eternally grateful for the opportunity to work with you and the lessons you gave me, like Mark’s, have helped me in my private projects and I am certain will also lend assistance to my scholarly pursuits.

Next in line, Ken Tiu, teacher at Hauppauge high school. My one regret is that I wasn’t a student at Hauppauge and couldn’t take your classes. Always light hearted, you kept me from having serious stress breakdowns without distracting me from my goals. You supported me when I was trying to decide what I should do for the next step in my life, and you made me feel like a member of the team like everyone else, despite being an obvious outsider. You helped me realize it’s not about how we do, or where we place, or what color the medal I’m wearing is, but that we did our best, had a good time and got something out of it. That outlook will serve me well in the future. You also did a good job of supplying my energy needs with endless coffee on those long weekends :slight_smile:

Of course there’s always Plouffe. What can you say about Plouffe? Besides the fact that I think I’m still spelling the name wrong…. He’s Plouffe (I hope) and he has a Plouffe dance. Like Tiu you kept me sane, and you gave me good advice when I needed it. Never a burden, you were always offering up some cheerful advice, and you gave me a chance to prove myself that I still don’t think I deserved. Oh and yes, we put the dance online, it’s available here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=KsWlsJ0Mp0I

Finally, there’s Joe Citro, the electrical engineer. The one who was always ready to lend assistance, or build something for us. Need a spare gyro? No problem. Need wires? Buttons? Done. Always ready to help and always letting me pick your brain, you helped me all the time when I needed it. Even on personal projects you offered your expertise, and a nice array of heatsinks, which are working out quite nicely! You also gave me those rides to the regional which were very helpful since I couldn’t travel with the school. I gleaned a lot of useful knowledge from you over the season and I learned from your work style, swift, effective, neat, and always top notch quality. You helped me settle on my major at Clarkson and figure out what I want to do with my life. It was only after consulting with you and Mark I felt ready to take the next step and move on from FIRST.

All of you have been a great help to me, and I’ll be sure to stop by and I want you all to know I appreciate it.

Thank you.

Matt, there’s no 12 step program to help you get free of FIRST you’ll be on 229 by the end of fall semester. :smiley:

Nicely said though, and good luck in school.

Hehe we can only hope to keep the team expanding. But yeah matt, this is great that you recognize your mentors as having such a large part in things.

I’ll see you around Clarkson.

Well written. I can say without a doubt over the past year Matt has become one of my best friends. He’s inspired, wicked smart, and one of the coolest and nicest people I know. Only if FIRST produced more kids like Matt.

PS, I think you can dance really good too!

Matt, glad you picked the best college :wink:

Haha before I start a college war (jk up there)… I think its really awesome that you recognize your mentor’s impact on your life.

For me, I think right around this same time when I left for college, I had the same feeling (only CD wasnt born yet or was very infant…). I wrote each of my mentors very personalized very individual letters. I was already in the throws of planning 229, but I knew they had gotten me there, my essay was on FIRST, my leadership experience was from FIRST, my mentors showed me the options. Its great to see the same from FIRSTers years later.

All students headed to college… make sure you thank your mentors… they may not reply to your letters, emails or posts, but it means A LOT to them. While they do get satisfaction from mentoring, their real prize is having seen you grow & knowing they had an impact. Give them that one last reward as you head off for your new lives, realizing they have given you theirs for the last several years, this will be a gift they will never forget.

I am so grateful for the mentors that have helped on 177 the two years I have been on the team. Without them, I know there is no way I would have discovered my interests in so many things. They have been amazingly helpful and friendly and willing to teach. I know for a fact that if I had never been involved in FIRST (and I wouldn’t have without their time and dedication) that I would not be where I am today.

Instead of sitting home and playing video games, these people helped show me all of these other amazingly interesting things I could be doing with my time. In part because of my experiences with FIRST, my life motto is “do cool stuff”. Woodie says it best when he talks about having “hard fun”. Overcoming challenges and finding solutions to real-world problems is infinitely more satisfying than sitting around watching TV.

Our team had a potluck dinner this year to thank our mentors, and we gave them all “paper plate” style awards for their own, unique ( :wink: ), contributions to the team. There’s a few mentors I want to individually thank beyond that though.

Mr. Gaston: Your “hands off” mentoring with the CMUCam last year taught me how to get myself out of problems when I ran into a wall, and you always uncovered just enough of the solution for me to take it run with it on my own. Mr. Betts: Without you, my experience on 177 would have been very different. Your dedication is amazing, and you taught me how to slow down and approach problems without rushing in. Mr. Mo: Without you 177 would not exist. Thank you for the countless hours you put in and the smile you always have when teaching me how to do ridiculously simple things.

All of the mentors have been amazing, and I thank all of you for everything you have done. Keep it up; you’re changing things for the better.

I’d like to give a HUGE thank you to Mr. Moxon and Mrs. Good for stepping up after our former coach stepped down

Mr. Moxon, thanks for keeping the team alive. You’ve taught us all a HUGE amount about team management, and your support means the world to us.

Mrs. Good, thanks for volunteering as faculty advisor when no one else would. You knew going in how big of a commitment it would be, and we’re so grateful that you chose to join us.

Also a quick shout out to Mr. and Mrs. Schuh, Mrs. Moxon and my parents, Mr. and Mrs. Morrison: Thanks for mentoring us and guiding us, be it with mechanical and electrical issues, grant applications and chairman’s submissions, making our awesome bumpers or letting us use your garage for late night building.

These are great!

All of you who are posting here should now print out your post and put it in an envelope and “snail mail” it to the mentor you just thanked. Even if the mentor is a regular CD reader, it will mean that much more if you put your signature on the piece of paper and send it to them.

Really it will. Don’t know why, can’t explain it, but it will. It’s really worth the extra 5 minutes and the 39 cents.