Turns out QCC didn’t change their focus, just FIRST. A mentor forwarded me the email below to answer my question about what happened to the QCC events. Seems strange to me. We showed it to our teacher, and he had these comments. After reading about FIRST and gracious professionalism on the FIRST site, it doesn’t sound like some poeple at FIRST make decisions that are gracious or professional. He also told us that if FIRST doesn’t want to hold an event in this area for the schools around here, then he’ll let us still play in the QCC events and spend the money we save not registering for FIRST to buy more Vex parts. Seems like a pretty dumb reason not to hold a FIRST event and get more teams, but oh well. Cool thing is we still get to play and now we get more parts and kits. Thanks so much to the people at QCC for continuing to hold their events and giving us a place to play-we’ll be signing up and can’t wait!
Dear Team Leaders,
It was great to see so many of you at the kickoff a couple of Saturdays ago!
I hope your students are excited about the upcoming events and are working
away at their Vex Robots designs. I wanted to give everyone an update on
developments since the kickoff and news on things to come.
As mentioned at the kickoff, I had been told by FIRST that they would be
sending out the affiliate partner agreements after the game was unveiled and
after our kickoff event on September 22nd. Last week I recieved a telephone
call from Steve Chism, Senior Director of Programs, at FIRST, and I was
surprised and saddened to learn that FIRST had changed their mind and
decided that they would not recognize our event as an “official” FTC
tournament this year. Steve Chism explained that this decision had nothing
to do with our very successful FTC (then FVC) Championship event last year,
and acknowledged our event is a well organized, well run, high quality event
for all the teams. Steve informed Quinsigamond Community College, via
telephone, that the reason FIRST would not “allow” QCC, or myself, to be a
Massachusetts FTC Affiliate Partner was that my son Brad now works for
Innovation First. Needless to say, I was (and still am) troubled,
perplexed, and stunned that FIRST would make a decision that negatively
impacts teams, schools, and students based on that reasoning.
So, the bad news is that our event on December 15th will not be recognized
by FIRST as an official Massachusetts FTC Qualifying event. We had planned
on it and were happy to hold and official FTC event. This event will now be
called the QCC Quad Quandary Championship. Everybody that I have spoken to
agrees that any issue FIRST seems to have with individuals or companies
should in no way hurt, or negatively impact, the teams and students who are
working hard on their robots and looking forward to the already scheduled
event, but this is out of our hands. Enough bad news! Even though I don’t
really understand the decision, we are still focused on what matters most:
having a great event for the kids and schools involved.
Good News Items:
We will still hold the tournament on December 15th, just as we all
planned. The only difference is it won’t be an official qualifying event
for FIRST Tech Challenge. Everybody that I have consulted with believes
that we should not allow this to stop our event, change our event, or impact
the students involved. The biggest news is that this event is still
happening and will be the same high-quality that you have come to expect
We will still be playing the Quad Quandary game, so nothing really
changes except the name of the event!
Since FIRST has decided that they do not want the event to be FIRST
sanctioned, participating teams no longer need to pay the $275 registration
fee to FIRST in order to participate in our event. Anybody who wants to
participate in our free events can sign up for them at www.robotevents.com
.com/> . Teams wishing to participate in other official FTC events and can
afford the $275 fee are still encouraged to do so. QCC has been a long-time
supporter of FIRST activities (FRC, FTC, and FLL) because we believe in the
message and mission of FIRST. We still believe that the FTC program is a
high-quality, high-impact program that provides low-cost access for its
participants. Regardless of any decision made by Steve Chism, or other
individuals at FIRST, we still share and believe in the FIRST mission and
will continue to promote these programs to schools in our area.
In summary: I am excited about our upcoming events and QCC is committed to
providing a great experience to all of the participating students. Of
course we are all disappointed in the decision/news from Steve Chism (and
FIRST) and can’t pretend not to be confused and somewhat hurt by the
reasoning behind it (especially with all of the years Brad and I have spent
supporting and helping grow FIRST). That effort and commitment will not
stop, and we are more committed than ever to continue to hold high quality
events and programs for your teams and students.
Finally, we cannot wait to see you at all of our events! Don’t forget, the
first event is on November 10th, the second event is on November 17th, and
your championship event will still be on December 15th at QCC.
------ End of Forwarded Message