As this is a rather controversial subject, I will preface this by saying that this does not represent the views of my team, though I will be using them as an example.
Many of you may have watched FUN last night and were unfamiliar with the first subject: the White Glove Award. In summary, it’s a team award that was started last year by 2713. What follows is my opinion on its intended purpose and why it’s so controversial in our community.
A solid percentage of people, including what seems to be a good portion of Twitch chat in last night’s stream, seem to strongly believe that this award qualifies as “taking a shot across the bow at teams run with mentors” by “passive aggressive children”.](https://clips.twitch.tv/PerfectTangibleTardigradeOhMyDog) As a mentor on one of those teams that won the award myself, I believe that notions like these come from a miscommunication of the purpose of the award, or perhaps that there was no solid definition of what the award is and stands for.
I believe that the award recognizes mentors who mentor. I don’t think there are any teams out there whose mentors do all of the work, but I do think there are teams where the whole process of building a robot is controlled by the mentors. This is how quite a few teams that I have friends on are run. It certainly works, consistently producing robots that do well; however, I believe that it doesn’t give students as valuable an experience as building the robot themselves.
Does building the robot themselves mean that mentors are useless? I don’t think so. I’ve put in hours of research into how this game works and what the best way to approach it may be, what capabilities the team’s robot should have, and potential solutions to problems. Sure, it’s joked on our team that the mentors do nothing; but what we really do is give the students the information they need to accomplish the tasks at hand. Sure, there are mistakes, but the team learns from them, and I am confident that they will continue to pass the lessons they’ve learned on to the next generation of students. This is what the White Glove Award is supposed to recognize; mentors who can help their students build a good robot without altering the design themselves or even working on the robot. We’re supposed to be teaching these kids what engineering is like, not spoon feeding them a bunch of steps. I don’t think any high school student likes to be told what they have to do, and I don’t think it’s very inspiring either. My point is, student run is not the same thing as having no mentors.
On the subject of this being an official award, I feel that there’s no need. From one team to another is fine.
But that’s all just my opinion, and I’m sure that CD has different opinions. All I want is my white glove award while other teams get their blue banners.