Sorry for the multiple posts, but I have come to the realizationt that all of the mentors on 1699 are great people.
Until this year, we never had space at our school to build a robot. The team was underappreciated by the school system for what it did for students and mentors alike, so more and more time and money was directed away from the team and towards other organizations in the school. The mentors on our team such as Keith Deslandes, Gary Floto, Rick Creaturo, and my father, Rick Cydylo worked hard to get the school to realize what an incredible program FIRST really is. After my first year (2007), the team grew exponentially from the 12 that were on it to this year’s 35+. The school now fully embraces FIRST, and it is truly because of the hard work that these mentors, and members of Team 1699 like now-mentors Alex Floto, Ryan Creaturo and Christopher Deslandes have done for us. We are a proud program that is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with.
In 2008, I was lucky enough to hold the position of Team Captain for 1699. Let me tell you, this is no “mommy and daddy” program. The robot was built completely by members, not mentors. The build took place, as it had the previous 2 years, solely in the Deslandes’ garage and basement; made possible largely by the hospitaly of Mrs. Lisa Deslandes. It was my pleasure to captain the team, and I wish the time haden’t gone by so fast. The introduction of new mentors like Debbie Godinez, Linda Rubin, Rita Shoenborn, and ex-NAVY electrician Tony Armagno, have made the team even better. We thank Mr. Armagno for bringing his fun-loving nature and great wealth of knowledge to the team. We are truly better with you here; and the same goes for all of the other “n00b” mentors.
And finally, to Rafe Manning. When the team was out a school advisor in 2008 after the previous advisor had left, 1699 was frantically looking for a repacement. Who stepped up to the plate? Rafe Manning, an English teacher. He had no previous experience with FIRST, but his undying love for the profession of teaching and his genuine and deep caring for his students brought him to join the team. He completely volunteered his time for us, and recieved no pay stipends. He was truly a volunteer. As the season progressed, Mr. Manning learned more and more about engineering, and his years as a lawyer payed off with our interpretation of the rules. His relaxed temprement, quick wit, and develish gook looks ( ) are invaluable to our team’s morale. We are proud to invite him back in 2009 along side fresh hire Mr. Arsenaldt as Team Advisors.
Thank you, everyone for everything you have done for us. While we may not thank you all enough, let it be known that the students of Team 1699 are truly, truly grateful for your help, advice, and friendship. Thank you.