Mentor Recognition Week

As you all know, we have almost only a week left before Atlanta. Something I have wanted to do for a while is called Mentor Recognition Week. This will be and annual thread that will start every year the week before Atlanta.

You can talk about 1 mentor or many mentors. This is the place for extended or elaborate explanations about your mentor(s) and how they have affected you personally. You can even attach a formal letter or a WFA submission.

All I have left to say is…get started on those thank you’s!!!

Hope to hear a lot of great things from students and fellow mentors about some amazing stories about some amazing people.:slight_smile:

EricH: Also, nominate these mentors for UFH and make your UFH submission viewable to the public adn the CD community.

-Akash Rastogi
MORT Team 11

I hear UFH (Unsung FIRST Heroes) is still looking for nominations. While you’re at it, nominate mentors for that.:slight_smile:

True that. This is just way to make UFH submissions open to the public. We all love hearing about awesome people.

I would like to recognize someone from my team who just recently recieved the WFA at the NYC Regional

Wayne Penn

This is the essay that was submitted for him

“The fundamental responsibility of a mentor or leader is to inspire others to step up to the plate, take responsibility, and become new leaders.” This is the role of a mentor defined by Wayne Penn. He has lived his life by the quote, and has affected the lives of those around him dramatically.
Wayne Penn started his involvement in FIRST on Team 217, The Thunder Chickens, in the 2001 season as a junior in High School. In 2002, Wayne broke out of his shell and became Driver and CEO of his team.
When Wayne moved onto college at Columbia, he did not stop his involvement in FIRST. In New York, Wayne became involved in Team 395, 2Train Robotics. On 2Train, Wayne was the lead student mentor from his University. He was involved in mentoring efforts and strategy. He helped 2Train win five Regionals in four years and a Regional Chairman’s Award. Team 395 comes from an inner city neighborhood with very low high school graduation rates. Instead of working with the teams that have major sponsors, Wayne chose to help these students. Wayne has said that one of his favorite memories is when a student told him that when he entered high school, he did not expect to graduate. FIRST gave him a reason to stay motivated. He is now an engineering student in college.
One of Wayne’s greatest accomplishments in New York was his involvement in the Region 2 Robotics Initiative. He spearheaded the creation of several FLL team in a Bronx Neighborhood. They held bi-monthly workshops with student and teachers. The borough’s FLL teams grew to 45, the largest numbers for a neighborhood in New York City.
Wayne has been involved in FLL and FRC. He has worked with many FLL teams. He has brought one team to the World Festival three times. In addition, Wayne was awarded the National Invitational Adult Mentor of the Year Award in 2002. In FRC program, he has been involved in the NYC and Boston Regional Planning Committees. Wayne was awarded Chief Delphi’s Unsung FIRST Hero award. He has also emceed numerous competitions. All of this was outside of helping out numerous teams each year.
In the fall of 2006, Wayne entered graduate school at Boston University. Yet again, he still stayed involved. Our team had met Wayne many times before at the New York City Regional. When he told us in 2006 that he was planning on attending BU, we said that he would always be welcome on our team. A few months later, he called and said he would take us up on that offer.
Wayne has helped our team tremendously by providing our team with new aspects of engineering and outlook on the FIRST program. Wayne has been an unbelievable role model for the students of our team. He works well with the students and gets them motivated, no matter what the situation is.
Above all, Wayne thinks about himself last. Bharat Nain of Team 25 says, “The best trait about Wayne is his selfless dedication to FIRST. The last person he thinks of is himself, always making sure to serve his teams and others in need.” Wayne comes down almost every night from school or work and work tirelessly. Last year, we would be dropping Wayne off at the train at midnight. Then the next day, he would be there, working ever hard then the day before.
I remember when a rookie team asked if he was helping out our team for college credits. With out dropping a beat, he responded, “Nope, just for fun.”

This is the submission for Exploding Bacons Woodie Flowers

Our Grand Pooobah…Doug Leppard

Every kid needs a role model- someone to look up to, to teach them about the world, to teach them how to make a positive impact in society. These days, young people find their role models in all sorts of different people- politicians, athletes, celebrities. One of the best places to find a role model is in a mentor who works with students on a daily basis. We here on Team 1902 believe that we have found our role model in Mr. Doug Leppard. Although he never was a student in FIRST, he still takes the principles of the program to heart and has worked alongside of our students to instill a love of science and technology.

Mr. Leppard has been an enthusiastic, active member of the FIRST community for six years now, two of which as a mentor for team 1902. He is currently employed by Campus Crusade for Christ, a program dedicated to bringing the virtues of Christianity to all corners of the world. While not pursuing his beliefs, Mr. Leppard spends an extraordinary amount of his free time working to better our team, both as a general mentor, as well as in his role as head programming advisor.

While accomplishments and statistics serve well to convey a person’s dedication to an organization, I believe that it is the personal aspect that really defines a person’s character and provides a holistic sense of a person’s true impact. As this is the case, I would like to communicate my sense of gratitude as the programming team student co-lead, as a person who has worked alongside, shoulder-to-shoulder with many great people, for the dedication that Mr. Leppard displays.

This past year, team 1902 has grown tremendously, and as a result of our sudden doubling of size, we have been faced with an increase in our programming team. What has amazed me, in particular, is the ability to coordinate the tasks among our many student programmers and keep all of us actively involved that Mr. Leppard has exhibited. While I will not deny that we have had our disagreements within the programming sub-team (something that is neither uncommon nor surprising in the stressful conditions of build-season), Mr. Leppard has personally been an example of calm compassion in the face of such disagreements. One such example that has left a personal impression was a speech that Mr. Leppard made during the midst of the final two weeks. In it, he quoted Vince Lombardi saying: “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” I believe he both captured the spirit of team 1902 and is a living testament of this belief.

Team 1902 has a reputation for being among the premier FRC teams, with a very sophisticated and reliable autonomous mode. This is a direct result of our planning, and the endless hours of hard work put in by the student programmers under Mr. Leppard’s direction. Being that he is the main mentor for the programming sub-team, Mr. Leppard’s advice and mentorship have been critical in the programming of our robot. Without his help, we wouldn’t have the effective hybrid mode that we developed this season.

We owe a lot on our team to Mr. Leppard. Without him, we wouldn’t have our tightly-knit organization, we wouldn’t have had such a good autonomous for the last two years, and we wouldn’t have the same sense of inspiration. His dedication to our cause is astounding and nothing short of respectable. Truly, he can be called a role model not only for our team, but also for the community in general.

I would like to thank Jenny Beatty. Jenny has been a mentor to me for several years. She had the inspiration to start NEMO while mentoring her son’s FRC team. She is one of the original FIRST Senior Mentors. She has been instrumental in the organizing of the FRC Chesapeake Regional and several off-season events in the Baltimore area.

I appreciate being able to bounce ideas off her, to have someone just listen to me rant, to offer suggestions when I am undecided. Thank you, Jenny. You may think you’re taking a sabbatical from FIRST but we won’t let you go that easily!

As tomorrow is father’s day, I just wanted to bring this thread up again to thank all the mentors out there who act as role models and father figures to many students. There’s some great mentors out there who just take their roles to the next level and act as second fathers, and I just wanted to say thank you to them.

I was reading through Andre Agassi’s final speech after his last match and this made me think of my mentors:

Andre Agassi-
“You have given me your shoulders to stand on to reach for my dreams, dreams I could have never reached without you.”

Thank you all for all that you do.:slight_smile:

I’m a person that loves to read FIRST stories. Does this mean that people should still share their mentor stories? hope

Of course!:slight_smile:

I have a thank your mentor story. My story is a thank your mentors story.

Very recently, I re-joined my favorite FRC team, FRC 418, LASA Robotics. I was absent from the team for the 2008/2009 season. Our team competes in BEST and in FIRST, so I missed a lot. Yesterday was one of the camp days of our annual SMART Camp and I attended. It was my first opportunity to spend a day with the team and with the parents in the Parent Association. It was a beautiful time watching the campers partner with members of the team to learn about building, programming, and about our team. I also had fun helping with the shop tours for the parents that hung around. It was a good day.

What that triggered though, was the thankfulness that I have for the interactions and mentoring that I have received from mentors involved with FRC, FTC, and FLL teams throughout the country. The mentoring has come from travels to off seasons, regionals, the Championship, and through private messages and e-mails. Technical mentors and non-technical mentors have taken the time to share their wisdom, positive attitudes, and team histories with me. In doing so, it has allowed me to be on the receiving end, able to bring that inspiration back to my region and to my team. Mentoring is very humbling and very real and it helps create change.

My list is very very long but I would like to acknowledge and thank a few that have been patient, kind, selfless, and filled with humor in teaching and mentoring me: Andy Baker, Sarah Plemmons, Al Skierkiewicz, Heidi Foster, Mark McLeod, Chris Fultz, Wayne Cokeley, Wayne Penn, Kathie Kentfield, and Jenny Beatty.Their generosity and sharing of knowledge and experience is empowering, energizing, and earnest, and I am a better person for it.

I’d also like to thank Tony Bertucci and Danny Diaz for the promise of adventure, excitement, and life-changing experiences that they continue to offer as lead mentors for FRC 418.

With respect,
Jane Young