INSPIRATION IS EVERWHERE

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FIRST encourages students to give back

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Stephen Robertson

2015 Dean’s List Finalist, FIRST Alum, Arizona

I was the first Dean’s List Finalist in the history of my FIRST Robotics Competition team, Team Paradise 1165. Being a Dean’s List Finalist empowered me to grow.

I realized it was time to give back to those who had given so much to me, such as my Mentors and local FIRST organizers. With that in mind, I set out to help Arizona FIRST LEGO League, which was my introduction to FIRST. I worked with my father to design and build a new FIRST LEGO League practice board that is cheap to make, easy to move, and durable. We created a tutorial video on how to make this teacher-friendly board, and made the instructions available for free on the web. I presented this new design at our state kickoff and held a drawing for the two boards we had made.

I also began talking with the local FIRST LEGO League director about introducing a new award for state events. The Ian Lao Award, named after our extremely dedicated Arizona State FIRST LEGO League Championship head referee, was awarded at the state championship to the Volunteer who has inspired students, just as Mr. Lao inspired me.

I also helped start new teams in my area. At my little sister’s middle school, I proposed starting a FIRST Tech Challenge team. We had so many kids join that we had to start a second team! At the Arizona Challenger Space Center, where I volunteer, I proposed creating a community FIRST Robotics Competition team to serve parts of the Northwest valley of Phoenix, where I live. Now it’s the team goal of “LAUNCH TEAM 6352” to “Make It Loud” and spread the word about FIRST.


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