Please post your 2006 Chairman's Award entries

KathieK did this last year and I figured it was time to start a thread for this year.

Please **consider posting your 2006 Chairman’s Award entries in the white papers section ** and link it here so we can all learn from what you have done and possibly become inspired to start or continue what we are doing.


Dawgma 1712’s Chairman’s Award/Rookie All-Star Entry 2006

I can’t find the final copy Nay, but here’s our draft right before the final…

Chairman’s Submission 2006

Evan Bowling was a student who never got involved in school activities. He enjoyed making creations with Lego’s and similar things. While thoughts always ran through his mind to do something technical, he always figured he would decide when the time came. Then Team 1504 burst through the doors of Grand Ledge High School. To him, this was awesome. He had never done anything like it before. It was fun to do and he loved the building process. Being on the team gave him a different perspective and a new way to look at things. When the time for the competition came around, the team looked for a student leader for the Pit Crew. Evan was the obvious choice. He went through the remainder of the season and went off to college. When it came time for the next build season, computer science engineering freshman Evan Bowling was on the mentor list. The best part however, was how excited Evan was to be working as a mentor with the same team on which he had once been a student.

Our team may only be in its second year of competition, but we already have a track record that even long-term veteran teams would be proud to boast. Last year, the team was highlighted in two newspapers – the State News (MSU) and Grand Ledge Independent. Team 1504 was also featured in a short segment on the Lansing ABC affiliate’s evening news program, as well as Michigan State University’s award-winning TV news magazine, Focal Point. In each of these media, team members took the opportunity to tell the previously-unaware community about FIRST. Students were quoted in the Okemos High School yearbook and were the focus of their page. News of the robotics team was also spread through word of mouth. Team members chatted with classmates and family members, as well as wore team t-shirts to school. As the premiere FIRST Robotics team in the Lansing area, our team had quite a task ahead of us and stepped up to the plate as the leaders.

Last year’s lack of funds didn’t stop Team 1504 from making a huge impact on team members and the surrounding area. Students started from scratch, learning everything about the build process. From the basic “how-to” on building a robot, to electronics, to machinery, to the design process, students entered a whole new world – the world of engineering. Some made new friends, others learned the importance of having ample funds, and everyone learned how their role in the team could only be fulfilled through commitment and responsibility. Each person was given a task that they had to do, knowing that if they slacked, the rest of the team would also suffer. At every meeting we had during our season, an attendance sheet was passed around to ensure each student was present to do their job. Students, however, were not the only ones impacted. Our mentors are scarcely older than our students and over the past two years have gained a great deal of knowledge about working with people and about teaching. For the last two years, the Lansing area found itself surrounded with news of our team and of the program in which we participate, FIRST.

Team 1504 is a leader that every team could learn from. Like many teams, we work with a combination of schools. Each of our three schools, however, is from a different district and the team’s time during the build season is split between the schools. We use the machine shop at one of the schools and the drafting materials at the other. Our team can also “make it happen” with very little in the way of supplies. Last year, we used many scraps to create our robot. Members of Team 1504 have become what the students have called a “robotics family.” Participants who didn’t know each other before joining the team have formed friendships that would not otherwise have been created. The reason that our team is the leader, the team that every other team should look up to, is that we don’t know the meaning of the word “quit.” Giving up is not in the vocabulary of this team. When most teams would have conceded, ours just buckled down and worked twice as hard. Last year, the team’s motto was “go BIG or go home,” and a better description could not have been used.

Starting the season earlier is one of the activities that our team has done in an effort to create a year-round program. In our rookie year, our season started with the build season. We began at the beginning of January, adding our second high school four days before Kickoff. This year, we began our season in September, and held meetings for fundraising and to try to make sure that this season would be better than last. We meet three times a week for three to four hours each meeting. Our time committed to the program has increased greatly this season. We also attended the fall Kettering Kickoff event with the help of Team 217. Although we did not win any major awards, we formed valuable ties with other teams. These ties gave us connections to sources of help and friendship. Over the summer, students even invited one of their mentors to play in a paintball tournament (the students won). During the off-season, our team members stay involved on the Chief Delphi forums, improving skills and sharing knowledge.

Team 1504 is preparing to embark on a journey. Recently, our team was asked to be the leader in the creation of more Lansing area FIRST Robotics teams. In the coming months, our team will be working to create rookie teams to compete in next year’s game. While we have no expectation of this being an easy task, we are excited and ready for the challenge. We can share our knowledge based on previous experiences and achievements with these new teams, because we feel that such information should be shared. We are thrilled that we have been asked to take on this mission.

Our team exemplifies the true meaning of FIRST. Inspiration? Each of our seniors last year went on to college. 75 percent of them went on to major in engineering. What really tells us that our team is making a difference, however, is that half of them have come back to mentor our team. Recognition? Two newspaper articles, two TV debuts and yearbook acknowledgment within the first year warrant an exemplary amount of recognition. Our kids are learning real-life lessons. They are learning teamwork, cooperation and how much fun engineering is. These skills are valuable lessons that cannot be acquired through textbooks. They are all very important in the process of students growing up and becoming contributing members to our society. We are the leaders. We are the premiere team. We are Team 1504, GEOmotion.

Executive Summary

Our program has taken students who had nothing more than a slight thought that they might be interested in engineering to a point where they have been involved in a project and have confirmed their suspicions. Our students have all gone to university and half of them have come back to mentor our team. 75 percent of them are majoring in engineering.

Team 1504 never says “die.” We have made it through trials that would test the patience of any team, but we have prevailed. Last year, our team survived on a budget around $7,000; $6,000 of which went to our initial payment for the regional and Kit of Parts. All of our mentors are either parents or university students. We work with high schools from different districts, utilizing resources from each.

We have been featured in two television news programs and in two newspapers. We are the first and only Lansing area FIRST Robotics team. We are doing everything that we can and making a good FIRST impact on the area. This is one of the things that our team is the most proud of.

Our team has been asked by the regional director for the state of Michigan to be the team that kicks off the FIRST Robotics program for the Lansing area. It is the capital of Michigan and an essential area to have inundated with the message we are trying to spread. Plans are currently being put into place on exactly how we will be creating new teams in our area.

Our strongest partnership is between our team and the schools with which we work. We use the drafting and computer facilities of Okemos High School and the machine shop at Grand Ledge High School. Both principals are highly supportive and excited about our program. Okemos High School featured the team in the yearbook last year and both schools plan to have the team in yearbooks this year.

Our team has communicated well both within our team and to the community around us. Our team has a website with a full calander and information for the team members. We have been featured in two newspapers as well as two television news programs. Community awareness is increasing, just ask people who live in the area. It is a slow process, but people are beginning to take note.

Our team is amazing. There is nothing that we cannot do if we so desire. When most teams run on budgets of at least $30,000, our rookie year team ran on $7,000. We built fantastic robots both years. Our kids are learning, and they love the program. We know that what we’re doing works because our students come back to mentor. That, more than anything, tells us what we need to know. Our program makes a diference to the students who are a part of it. That is the most important thing to us.

Your Team Number: 842
**Team Name, Corporate / University Sponsors: ** Arthur M. Blank Foundation/Honeywell/Intel/Phelps-Dodge/Wells-Fargo & Carl Hayden High School

**Briefly describe the impact of the FIRST program on team participants. **In a school that was noted for a high dropout rate, over the last 3 years our FIRST graduates are not only the first in their family to graduate from high school, but 100% have gone on to the military or college, most with scholarships. After experiencing the “hard fun” challenges of FIRST, participants want to prepare themselves for a challenging, important career and yet still find time to inspire younger students.
Examples of role model characteristics for other teams to emulate. **We don’t do just robots. We are involved with the Arizona and U.S. legislature. We mentor 10 FLL teams and we host the 50 team State FLL Competition on our campus. Our year round engineering activities include building full size electric race cars, ham radio, alt. fuel go-karts, and an underwater ROV. Realizing the value in VEX, we were the first AZ team to form four all-girl teams on our campus, and to inspire junior high and junior colleges to participate with us.

Describe the impact of the FIRST program on your team and community. 50 individuals on the robotics team have come together and bonded to form a single unit, which is the pride of our community. A community once known for gangs is now known for its robotics teams. Educators and policy makers from around the country come to our campus to see the positive affects of the Falcon Robotics. The Arizona IEEE wants to form the first Arizona high school chapter at Carl Hayden.

Teams innovative methods to spread the FIRST message. We made over 45 presentations this year to students and teachers from 2nd graders to universities, as well as to parents, legislatures, and professional groups. Our publicity campaign netted over 25 articles (English and Spanish) in local, national, and international publication, and 18 media broadcasts, including ABC News Nightline. Warner Bros. is making a movie and we are in the Congressional Record.

**Describe the strength of your partnership. **Our 15 year partnership with Phelps Dodge has expanded to include Intel, Honeywell, Wells Fargo, and smaller businesses in our neighborhood. Employees from these companies as well as Microchip, and Inventivity donate talent and funds to Hayden. In turn support Arizona teams as far south as Sierra Vista to the northern Navajo Reservation. We are also mentoring other rookie teams from South Carolina and Georgia as well as continuing our relationship with Team1401 from Mexico City.

**Teams communication methods and results. **We reach a broad audience by hosting a bilingual website, speaking to diverse groups of people—mentoring young students, briefing state legislators and influencing legislation—and communicating through national media: TV, magazines, NPR radio, and countless Internet articles. We correspond with sponsors via conference calls, email, and site visits where several team members lead the dialogue. These communication efforts resulted in global recognition of our team hence the recognition of FIRST.

Other matters of interest to the FIRST judges, if any. The Falcon Robotics primary goal is to positively affect our culture. More of our students are going into engineering and other technical careers, state and national leaders are calling us a model program, but it was not until Wired magazine, ABC News Nightline, Hollywood, and MTV reported our impact on our students and community that we realized how much influence our students have on the culture.

Carl Hayden High School
Falcon Robotics team 842

Annalisa, the president of the Falcon Robotics club, finishes her part of the presentation declaring that for the last three years, all of the club seniors have gone on to college or the military. Governor Napolitano asks her if she always wanted to go into engineering. Annalisa replies, “I never planned on going to college until I became a “FIRSTer”, but now I will be going to ASU polytechnic campus to major in technology and business. With all the responsibilities and experiences I’ve handled, I know I want to do this for a living.”

Presenting in front of the governor and her education council, which includes the presidents of the three universities and school superintendents from around the state, was only one of the 45 presentations members of the team made in the last 12 months. The FIRST message has been heard not only by hundreds of policy makers, but by local second and third graders.

Marco, a sophomore, and Rebecca, a junior, will never forget their two hour participation with the toughest crowd ever: the second graders at Lela Alston. The robotics team brought the FIRST robot, as well as a Lego robot, a VEX robot and several of the promotional videos. Several demos, hundreds of questions and two hundred hugs later, Marco knew what it felt like to be a hero. The boys all wanted to be an inventor like Marco; the girls wanted to be a robot builder like Rebecca.

The year 2005 was a banner year for Falcon Robotics. April’s Wired magazine featuring, the team’s ROV (Remotely Operated underwater Vehicle) brought national attention to the club. ABC News Nightline accompanied team 842 to the 2005 national FIRST championship where Carl Hayden H. S. was presented the Engineering Inspiration award. The half hour national program was aired in May. The story appeared on the front page of the Arizona Republic and as far away as The Press in Christchurch, New Zealand. The students have been interviewed three times on National Public Radio and by the BBC in Ecuador, in Spanish. The largest teacher organization in the U.S. printed an article about robotics, technology, and education written by our teachers, Allan Cameron and Fredi Lajvardi.

How does a team reach such a large audience? While it may appear like a lucky break, it is a result of believing that people really do appreciate those who work with science and technology and we are willing to appear anywhere, anytime. We have also learned the power of writing the press release.

One such press release finally reached Josh Davis, a writer for Wired magazine. He contacted us and asked, “Are you people for real?” He attended the AZ kickoff, AZ regional and went with us to Nationals. He has become a great friend and advocate of the FIRST message. He has become part of the network of professionals who we have met over the years who created the Falcon “lucky breaks.”

Cristian is working on the 2006 ROV while he is chatting with U.S. Congressman, Ed Pastor. Representative Pastor is so impressed with the kids technical work and impact on the community, that he spoke about the Falcon Robotics team and Dean Kamen’s dream on the floor of the U.S. Congress. Team 842 is now in the Congressional Record, a part of U.S. history. Ed Pastor has asked for copies of our DVD and publications to lobby other federal legislators to provide resources and incentives to bring programs like FIST to every school.

State Representative David Lujan is visibly excited while talking with Luis and Pablo. He’s been trying to find a way to improve math and science education in Arizona. The team has been telling him it’s more of an attitude problem rather than a curriculum issue. Representative Lujan is impressed and after discussing the teams proposed Arizona Extracurricular Academic Association (AEAA) that promotes math and science activities after school and on the weekends, he writes draft legislation to promote and fund FIRST, FLL and other math and science activates for Arizona schools. Governor Napolitano, who has a third meeting with the Falcons, includes a $1,000,000 in her budget proposal to encourage FIRST-like activities.

Gerica graduated in May and is now sitting in Boston during a freezing snowstorm. Like many of the Hayden students, she is the first in her family to graduate from high school and like all the robotics team members, she decided college was essential, but it would require a scholarship to finance her dreams.

While in Atlanta for the FIRST National, the team visited the Arthur M. Blank foundation’s headquarters and presented the team’s message. Mr. Blank is the cofounder of Home Depot. The staff and officers were impressed with the “gracious professionalism” of the students and their involvement in the student’s community.

While visiting the “trophy room”, Gerica mentioned that Arthur Blank’s college picture had the Babson College logo in it. When they asked if she was going to the prestigious business college, she replied that although she had been admitted, the tuition was way out of the question and scholarship applications deadlines had passed. Two months later, Gerica was awarded a “full ride” scholarship. The “hard fun” of the robotics team has prepared Gerica for the “hard fun” of Babson. The warmth of the Blank Foundation offsets the frigid Boston winter.

Scholarships are important for our community. Per capita income in our neighborhood is $9,000, yet because of our FIRST activities, many of our students are seeking and receiving scholarships. The team has inspired ASU to create the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, Science, Math, and Engineering Competition Award for a student who has “fully participated in a regional or national science, math, or engineering competition”. It specifically mentions FIRST and the MATE ROV competitions as examples. A Falcon graduate received the first one.

A group of businessmen, impressed with the aspirations of the robotics students, has created the Maecenas Fund which will provide over $200,000 in scholarships for Hayden students. Four robotics students were awarded four year tuition, room and board scholarships. More importantly, they will be mentored by some very wise patrons.

A wonderful lady, Alex, contacted our club and has “adopted” one of our graduated FIRST members, Emma. Emma has transferred from the local community college to the university because Alex is paying her tuition, dorm room and food allowance. Emma will probably visit Alex in China this summer!

Victor is a freshman with experience. At Issac Middle school, he was a member of the FLL team that was coached by Hayden students. In turn, this year Victor was a mentor to his alma mater. In 2005 the Falcon Robotics team mentored 10 FLL teams. The neighborhood around Carl Hayden is becoming the “robot hood”.

After the few glitches in the sound system were solved, Victor tried to count the number of people in the stands. Maybe 500? The third annual AZ regional FIRST Lego League competition was about to get underway. Forty schools from around the state filled the three gymnasiums at Hayden. The Falcons with ham radio licenses were in charge of communications and the kids who built the ROV’s underwater camera system wired 10 classrooms with audio and video so parents could remotely watch their Lego students’ presentations. Victor was proud of his school.

Angelica is spending another Saturday at school. Everything seems to take longer than she thought it would. The VEX playing field took longer than expected. None of the girls had ever used power tools before. Angelica was good in math and science and now she discovers she also likes working with her hands and figuring out how make things work. Angelica, a junior, is now very interested in studying engineering.

The all-girls Vex team was formed specifically to give the girls an opportunity to gain hands on experience. The Falcons had been concerned that girls on the robotics team seemed to shy away from the construction and fabrication activities, so when the VEX kits became available, the team bought four kits and formed the Carl Hayden VEXens. Even though there is no VEX regional competition, the VEXens will scrimmage with a team at Phoenix Community College and perform demo matches at the Arizona regional.

The numbers for 2005-2006:

Google Hits for “Carl Hayden” & “Falcon Robotics”: 5,850
Percentage of Falcon graduates entering college or military: 100%
Active weeks per year: 52
Number of teams at AZ FLL: 50
Presentations given: 45
Print Publications: 25
Radio and TV broadcasts: 18
FLL teams mentored: 10
Adult Mentors (non teachers): 7
Countries reporting on team 842: 6
New 4-year Scholarships created this year for Robotics team: 6
FIRST high schools mentored: 5
Hayden teachers who spend FIRST weekends: 5
Visits to Governor’s office: 3
Colleges and Universities mentored: 2
Legislation drafted: 1

Then there was all the traveling for competitions, presentations, and awards:
FIRST Nationals, Atlanta, GA
MATE ROV National, Houston, TX
NextFest, Chicago, IL
National Council of La Raza, Philadelphia, PA
Teacher of the Year Awards, ETS & College Board, Princeton, NJ
IEEE National Pre College Teachers of the Year, Orlando, FL
John Wells Productions & Warner Brothers, Burbank, CA

Annalisa stares at the empty table where our robot, Karen, was built. The day after shipping is always a quiet day. Partly due to the lack of sleep and stress, but also because it’s a time for reflection. What a year! Meetings with the governor, lawmakers, industry leaders, university presidents; trips across the country; speaking in front of large crowds; winning and losing; long nights and longer days; mountains of paperwork; endless deadlines; creating new teams… Cameron barges in, “We just got a phone call from MTV. They want to do a documentary!” She wonders if college will be this exciting.