We asked the FIRST Teams to write in about their mentors in anticipation of National Mentor Day. Here is what FIRST Team 956, 3711, 1540 & 2517 wrote:
The foundation of every robotics team rests upon the valuable mentors. No matter what field a mentor may strive in, they are present to prepare the newest members and provide advice when needed. Constantly they have gone above and beyond to aid the team, especially when most have stepped into robotics as rookies. From software (Mr. Jeff W.) to anything in the mechanical realm (Mr. David), these mentors have raised 956’s knowledge to new heights.
Mr. Bob H, the team’s electrical mentor, has additionally helped keep the team in constant safety with Frisbees flying in what seems like never-ending chaos. Without him, injuries might have existed as a common occurrence.
When looking for help, Mr. Paul C always has time to spare. “I learn something new whenever I work with him,” informed 956 team member EC.
Managing thank you cards and numerous fundraisers makes Mrs. Jennifer H a huge aid for the team, and last year’s alumnus, Miss Michelle M, has definitely prepared many members for the critical building season. According to student BW, “I’ve learned all the stuff about actually building the robot this year from Michelle.”
956 cannot thank our mentors enough for bringing their all every day to set the valuable foundation for our team, and we thank every mentor for every team that has brought success to every robotics team, every day.
Imagine a few seeds lying on a tabletop, they can’t move and they can’t grow. Now imagine a different table with a pot, full of rich soil, sitting in full sunlight with a pitcher of water at the ready. If you put the seeds in that pot, they begin to grow. You’ve probably guessed my visual example by now: the seeds are FRC kids. The soil, water and sun are mentors; they help us grow in knowledge and maturity. Our mentors are worth much more than a huge grant, or an expensive donation, grants don’t give us knowledge, and donations don’t offer words of encouragement.
Our team mentors don’t give us the answers to every problem, they let us explore for ourselves, they help us understand our robot and they advise us, making us wiser people. They drive our team towards inspiration and success, and even when we crash they are there to help us pick up the pieces.
Our mentors make FIRST robotics an enjoyable and enlightening experience. Their unique backgrounds bring a diverse outlook to the brainstorming table. Sally Wells is a fifth grade teacher at Trout Lake school. Terry Schmidt owns the local Terry Schmidt Gravel company. Ken Tiffan is a fisheries research biologist for the United States Geological Survey. Fred Paxon owns a small local mill; Mount Adams Lumber Company. Patrick Bettale is an electrical engineer at Cloud Cap Technologies, and Brian Dennis is a mechanical engineer for ICE, another local company.
To all mentors, on our team and all FIRST teams, we would like to say thank you.
Team 1540 would like to thank all of our wonderful mentors! We consider every individual who has supported the Flaming Chickens to be a mentor, and appreciate all of them. These amazing people range from dedicated team parents, to Flaming Chickens alumni, to all community members that support us. There are two individuals, however, that have arguably invested the most effort into us: Dale Yocum and Andrew Merrill.
Dale has been the director of the robotics program at Catlin Gabel School since his volunteer days coaching FLL teams in 2001, when he founded the program at Catlin. He is now a full-time employee in charge of engineering at the school, doing what he loves. He mentors all departments of the team except software. Thank you so much, Dale!
Andrew Merrill is the co-founder of the Flaming Chickens. He is the computer science teacher at Catlin and a 5th-generation teacher. His enthusiasm for code drives our software groups and energizes the rest of the team. Thanks for everything, Andrew!
Our team thinks that our mentors are Valuable and we know that our team would not be the same without the great mentors we have. Teri W. said “I know how great FIRST is for the students and I really want it to succeed.” Without our mentors our team would not be as great of an experience as it is now.
“Our mentors help keep us on track” said Tyler G. our design lead. In addition our mechanical lead, Devan K. added “they help us with a wide range of good insight” Josh P. our team captain stated “the mentors are amazing because they invest so much time in FIRST because they care about our futures.” Without our amazing mentors we probably would not have a team and many of our team members would not be interested in science and technology.
- Jakki Lundquist– Plastics Northwest
- Margaret Milem – Evergreen Public Schools
- Bob Silva – Great Western Malt
- Jon Beam – Kaiser Permanente
- Keith Wegmann – Portland V.A. Medical Administration
- Teri Wegmann – Riverview Community Bank
- Ron Lilienthal – City of Portland
- Jean Oh – Boeing
- Thomas Gibb – Intel
- Tim Lutz – Clark Public Utilities
- Christian Kaneen – Evergreen Public Schools