Team 842 Chairman's Submission

Here is some of our submission, our essay is in the form of a letter to FIRST from a girl on Mars that came across her daddy’s diary. He was on FIRST team back on Earth.

Diary entry, Spring 2008:
" ‘And the chairman’s award winner is…’ I felt my heart pounding like I’d bust an aorta as I heard the announcer dramatically stretching the final announcement. My foot was tapping rattlesnake rhythms as we sat in the stands waiting, hoping, and praying that the announcer would call out 842. I felt as if I was in a movie. My whole life flashed in front of my eyes. But it wasn’t really my whole life; it was just my life after I joined the Falcon Robotics team years ago. All the community service, all the demos and conferences, all the hard work, successes and failures and all the fun I had on the team led us to this moment."]

Virginia’s pod, 2038:
As I sat on the closet floor, taking in all of the words my father wrote so long ago and reflecting back to everything that led him to this moment, I had to put the journal down and begin thinking about his struggles and accomplishments. My name is Virginia Jimenez and I am at the Andover Mars Colony, in the Lowell Terra-Forming Complex. I recently snuck into my father’s room and looked through his teenage diary. He was away on a week long aqua mining project and I was alone at home, bored and curiosity got the best of me. On Earth my dad was part of a FIRST robotics team that influenced AZ and the country. They had quite an impact on the culture. I can see how my dad became so competent and innovative.

Diary entry:
“I don’t look at Jerry, Paul and Karen as scientists, engineers, nerds or geeks; they’re adult friends with answers and knowledge and that’s the kind of person I want to be.”]

Due to the culture and the time period my dad grew up in, he didn’t know many professionals. The only people that he knew with a college degree were probably his teachers. Working with professional scientists and engineers from places such as Honeywell, Intel, General Dynamics, and Microchip changed his perspective of what was ‘cool’. Their robotics gained support from the community, feeder schools and teachers. Team 842 also helped create a nonprofit organization called APASE (Arizona Promoters of Applied Science in Education.) This program promoted extra curricular STEM activities.

Diary entry:
“As I looked through the faces in the scrapbook, I realized that all of our seniors have gone on to college. I also noticed that most of them made it with full ride scholarships; many in engineering. Our team has been responsible for greater college preparation and admissions and the number of students trying to join robotics has increased dramatically.”]

There is nothing that excites people more than sports, Right? Well my dad mentions how popular robotics was at Carl Hayden. It was even more popular than football! He even writes about some of his friends that quit sports to spend more time in robotics. Team 842 had won more recognitions than the sports teams and because of that they gained the support of many teachers in their school district. 62 graduates had earned almost $3 million in scholarships, far more than all the year’s of sports scholarships.

Diary entry
“Norma swears that FIRST’s experiences and encouragement that she along and the other girls seriously began to pursue careers in science and technology. The girls proved that it is not just ‘a man’s world’. She is now our electrician expert and things can’t get done without her. Girls are not just working on the paper work, scrapbook, or taking pictures, they are actually working on the robot and machinery. Last year, a bunch of girls graduated and are now in ASU’s engineering programs” ]

In the competition of 2007 the team decided to do something different. The team made the decision to take only girls to the San Diego Regional competition. After their experience, the girls on the team decided to work on an underwater robot. They wanted to use what they learned in FIRST in a different type of competition so they entered the National Underwater Robotics Challenge,(NURC) competition. Team 842 sponsored and hosted the NURC Competition. This competition was modeled after FIRST’s philosophy, with engineers and students of all ages working together.

Diary entry:
“This morning our laptops were stolen. I was so stressed. I didn’t know how we were going to pull off the Lego competition. After putting in all the time to mentor a Lego team after school, the competition must go on. Michael and John said they could try to reprogram a laptop, but they wouldn’t guarantee anything. As my team and others arrived we assured everyone the competition wouldn’t be cancelled. In the end we were able to recover with different laptops. We were successful and, once again, hundreds of FLL teams had a fantastic experience. We have three major FIRST competitions at our school in December: FLL qualifying, FLL AZ regional and FIRST Technical Challenge regional and we do all the organizing and work. We sure meet a lot of families.”]

I admire my father’s team because they knew how to take up challenges. They took time out of their busy schedules to mentor a dozen Lego teams in their neighborhoods and half a dozen high schools. The team also received funds to hold workshops for teachers interested in starting Lego teams and are a major resource for all schools in AZ. They also hold the FIRST Technical Challenge in Arizona.

Diary entry:
“As a team we’ve hosted many of presentations, I even attended a presentation for a group of troubled adults who had an interest in our team and needed some encouragement. We were even the keynote presentation at a major teacher conference. The standing ovation was awesome. I think we’ve presented pretty much everywhere, from well known companies to career conventions. And out of all of them I think the hardest one was talking to kindergarteners. They are the most excited and interested about robots. They all want to join a robotics team.”]

My father’s speaking skills developed when he began giving presentations for other companies, organizations and people while on team 842. Every year his team would give many presentations (several per month) that support science, technology, academics, and FIRST. Thanks to their appearances, they were able increase donations. Most of the high schools in their district started a new robotics team in the year of 2008. Many schools came to the Falcon campus for workshops, advice and encouragement.

“I finally have some time for myself. I just finished writing my 330th letter to Arizona state representatives and state congress. If every Falcon does the same we’ll have a total of 4,000 emails.” ]

Team 842 was dedicated to getting as much political support for FIRST in 2007. As a result 14 representatives and the governor came to the Arizona FLL and FRC competitions; one state representative also attended the national competition in Atlanta. The campaign was so impressive that Dr. Cameron, my dad’s mentor, was invited to the nation’s capitol to testify how our team, and FIRST, was having such a dramatic impact on “traditionally underrepresented” minorities and how federal legislation could greatly improve the technically educated workforce.

Diary entry:
“I just got back from the movie theatre that played our one-minute promotional video about FIRST! It took two months to raise $5,000 by working long hours writing letters to pending sponsors and calling businesses for their support.”]

That’s right, movie theaters! Their belief was that young people who chose movies for entertainment would be interested in attending a FIRST regional and maybe wonder why their school does not have a robotics team, 842 put together a one minute promotional video about FIRST that was viewed by over 160,000 people just before the AZ competition.

Diary entry:
“My mother shook hands with Governor Napolitano and William Harris, the CEO of the Science Foundation Arizona. They were proud of what I had accomplished that day. It was a private meeting with the most important people and I was part of it!”]

In 2005 my father presented FIRST to the Governors Education council and the next year $2.5 million were allotted for school programs like FIRST. The SFAz granted AZ FIRST $600,000. The team became effective promoters of academic programs in Arizona schools.

Diary entry:
“Today it was announced that Salma Hayek’s company and MGM bought the rights to produce our movie. Wow, I can’t wait until I meet her.”]

My father’s robotics team was even published in Wired magazine, Reader’s Digest (English, Spanish & Italian) and they were all over the internet. Their story was translated into 4 different languages. They also appear in 3 different national school approved text books.

Diary entry:
“More than a club, I would say that we are a family. We see each other in zero hour, we eat together during lunch, and we work together after school. Our team has created study groups amongst each other to become successful in school and we even have parties together. It might have been that special bond that has made our team really successful.”]

As I sat on the closet floor reflecting back to everything that led my father to become the man he is today, I realized that it shouldn’t be a surprise. His galaxy-famous landing on the Mars moon of Phobos was the natural extension of the work he started on Team 842 as a teenager. His high school activities – the competitions, the work in the community, the engineering laid the foundation for his success. And even here – 173 million miles from earth and 30 years later – Team 842 still has the power to inspire. Just yesterday, I established the inaugural FIRST Mars regional championship. Of course, I’ll probably win since I’m the only kid here. The hard part will be finding a shuttle to take me to the Galaxies in Atlanta back on Earth. But hey, if Dad could do amazing things, then so can I.



First of all let me thank you for uploading your chairman’s award entry to ChiefDelphi.

I enjoyed reading it! Not only was it overwhelming but it was also a good resource for submitters and it gave me several ideas.

I wish you good luck and all the best at your regional in Arizona and I hope to see you at the championship event!


You can see our previous two year’s submissions:

They are there so teams who want to see what other teams are doing, can get ideas.

Best of Luck


wow i remember all of that its amazing what we did i am proud fo being on team 842 wooooooo!

I really like the concept of the whole diary thing. Its something unique that I too hope stands out in all the other entries. Best of luck to you guys:)

Aww, you beat me to it. Yeah I really like the approach you took. Best of luck with Chairmans. The whole diary entry concept was a great one.

Thanks! we were trying to do something different. Hope it works!

For the past year or so I’ve been reading on CD about all the good stuff that’s going on in Arizona. I didn’t connect most of it to one team. Best of luck when you get to present this in Atlanta!

Thanks, There are many great teams here, we need to keep getting more teams in more schools!!!

Awesome Job on behalf of Team 498 and myself. Best of luck to you and your team this year. You Guys are a inpiration to other teams around you. Keep up the Good work!

Thanks guys! Hope we make it to the finals in AZ Regional with you!! See you soon!!

That would be Awesome!

It is wonderful that you and your team mates will have this document to read, reflect on, and refer to in the future, just as you can do with your prior CA submissions.

It is very special that you can see the work the team has done and the cultural impact 842 continues to make in your community, your state, and FIRST. Each submission that all the teams enter with each passing year creates an abundance of information and resources that can be cited, recognized, and used as reference materials. That is one of the big picture aspects of the Chairman’s Award. The long term impact.

It is good that you have these memories and can derive great pride and satisfaction in the contributions you have made to your team.

All the best,

Thanks Jane! I want to thank you again for all the nice comments about aour team and for emabracing the girls last year through their forey into the world of FIRST with the guys on the team. We are going to try it again this year it willbe in Las Angeles. We are planning on writing an account of that as well, the girls point of view. Thanks again!!

Wow, that looks awesome!
Good job to the Chairmans writers.

Nice job. I was looking through your past submissions and your website and was curious what awards you have won in the past.
By the way I like your trebuchets. I have one of similiar design but larger.


Here is our awards list:

* 2007 AZ Regional Finalist
* 2007 AZ Regional Chairman's Award
* 2007 NV Engineering Inspiration Award
* 2006 AZ Regional Chairman's Award
* 2006 CMP Chairman's Honorable Mention #3
* 2005 AZ Regional Chairman's Award
* 2005 CMP Engineering Inspiration Award
* 2004 AZ Engineering Inspiration Award
* 2003 CA Delphi "Driving Tomorrow's Technology"

We still have yet to win a robot award. Maybe this year…

It is always a pleasure to support and admire teams who help set the bar for all of us.

The team is going for a tradition now, I see – setting the bar again. This time with the experience of last year, the lessons learned, and the confidence gained. Good luck in L.A. and in all the competitions this season.

That looks like a robot award to me.

See you in LA!

It was for innovative use of a material. It was our Pultruded Fiberglass
So I guess its kind of a robot award