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Documents | 2012 Chairmans Essay

2012 Chairman's Essay Response

FIRST Team 1912 Combustion has worked tirelessly for seven years to revolutionize our culture by igniting the passions of a growing FIRST community. We recognize that only by championing FIRST ideals to create a society based on science and technology can we burn for a brighter tomorrow. As the widely respected beacons of the FIRST legacy in our area, 1912 has founded a host of enthusiastic new teams, strengthened our community with extensive volunteering, and employed a variety of media outlets to inspire newfound support for FIRST ideals. After all our years of building sustainable partnerships, the people of the Gulf Coast have finally united with the vision of building a lasting community of leaders. Our multitude of groundbreaking events and the public's avid support indicate just how much the culture has changed in our area.

We seek to spark love for science and technology by building a community of new FIRST teams in the area. With our newly formed Ignition team, 1912 continued the strong tradition of spreading FIRST to local schools by establishing 4 new Junior Lego League teams at Northshore High feeder schools this year: 152, 153, 787, and 790. Students in our area can now join FIRST teams at a young age, then continue their FIRST experiences all the way up to high school. We volunteered extensively at both FLL and FRC local and championship competitions as judges, field reset, and trophy organizers, all the while mentoring our competing FLL "home teams." To celebrate their accomplishments, we plan to give them the excitement of the Bayou Regional FIRST-hand on a school field trip, inspiring the future leaders of our community to become scientists and engineers in the varsity FIRST world and beyond.

To build a lasting network of FIRST teams in our community, 1912 actively establishes and sustains fellow FRC teams. We ignited Slidell High Team 3946 with our JCPenney sponsorship and a recommendation to SAIC, while we obtained NRL funding for 2992. FIRST Friendship "Fubustion" resulted in many outreach exchanges and one member attending 364's prom. We co-hosted our 3rd Jumpstart Build with 364, 1421, 2221, and 2080, helping 13 rookies. Year round, 1912 reaches fellow FRC teams through the Bayou webcast, personal visits, media networking, and our detailed website. After 3 years of Beta Testing, we broadcasted a FIRST Forums Kinect manual and a Youtube video that hit over 5600 views.

When we aren't eagerly establishing and mentoring fellow teams, 1912 introduces FIRST robotics to the general public, focusing in particular on the young minds that form the backbone of the FIRST community. In outreach initiative "FIRST Flames," we use live robot demos, workshops, camps, and school engineering classes to expose children and adults alike to "the new cool" of science and technology. We demoed our robot to crowds of excited children at the Brock Elementary 21st Century Camp, First Baptist Summer Camp, Lafayette Animation Camp, and the Fit as a Firefighter Camp. At the Lakeview Medical Center's spooky Boo Fest, we raised money for disabled children, and proved the value of youth in STEM at the Tulane Engineering Conference. We collaborated with the Boy Scouts at an expo in New Orleans, hoping to establish Boy Scout-based FLL teams. Reaching out to local children, we demoed at the College and Career Night and celebrated the Fourth of July with our mayor at a Heritage Fest highlight booth for the last 5 years. Every year we engage at Freshman Orientation and Club Day for high school audiences. At our 2nd CSI Science Camp this summer, we volunteered a week of funds and student counselors for co-host Cypress Cove Elementary. With enjoyable curricula from NASA's "Summer of Innovations," over 120 young campers conducted rockets launches, science experiments, and mock surgeries under 1912 and FLL Team 6106's guidance. On "Team 1912 Day," we secured the children's love for STEM with a robotics demo, so inspiring them that many formed the core of the JrFLL teams we founded that fall.

To champion FIRST without our robot, 1912 Torchbearers use original volunteering efforts to benefit every aspect of our community. We donated ice cream sale funds to St. Jude's Hospital on behalf of a benefitted 1912 relative, and launched a bake sale to support the family of a deceased Northshore student. Team 1912 also sent fellow FIRST alumni and wounded veteran Kevin Tremble a signed painting and Fund donation thanking him for his sacrifice. Whenever our community needs a hand, 1912 eagerly steps in with projects like Bonne Ecole Elementary's Green Club painting, where members outlined school fences with vivid murals to raise environmental awareness. Inspired, we launched a 1912 recycling program. To preserve the unique bayou environment so beloved to our Gulf Coast, 1912 allied once again with the National Wildlife Federation to plant hundreds of marsh roots in Bayou Savauge, a muddily refreshing experience similar to last year's work at Big Branch National Wildlife Refuge. When interviewed on film, students shared the FIRST message. In our 7th Slidell clean-up, 1912 continued to beautify our increasingly litter-free city. For the past 4 years the team has helped to disassemble the Bayou Regional field before donating the competition flooring to Habitat for Humanity. We savored aiding the Hospice Foundation at their crawfish cook-off, tasting characteristic Louisiana crustaceans while volunteering. To truly reach every member of our community, 1912 partnered again with the Southeast Louisiana Special Olympics for days as field resets, motivating ourselves with the gracious spirit of FIRST we saw in our Bocce athletes.

Just as a fire needs fuel, oxygen, and sparks to burn, our team needs the Combustion Triangle of sponsors, mentors, and students to light our fiery spirit. Our treasured sponsors range from corporations and government agencies to local organizations like the Slidell Women's Civic Club, a longtime Combustion admirer who endowed us with unsolicited funds. We have been a fortunate NASA House Team for 5 years, and built in generous QinetiQ's facility for 4 years. To express our gratitude to all our sponsors, we demo at each of their facilities, invite them to both Open House and Bayou Regional, and present them with commemorative plaques. Throughout the year, we communicate with a triannual newsletter to arrange demos like the Take Your Kid to Work Days at Stennis Space Center and the Michoud Assembly Facility. In our FIRST demo for JCPenney's 25th anniversary at our local mall, we delighted shoppers with the style of robotics and the "new cool" of science.

To integrate our most influential Louisianans into the FIRST community, 1912 stays in touch with the governor's office and takes the excitement of robotics to the Capitol Rotunda at Baton Rouge each summer. This 2nd visit, we led the cause for STEM education with our hoop-hanging robot and invitations to Open House and Bayou, impressing influential political leaders of every place from Baton Rouge to Belize. Curious local TV interviewed students and learned all about FIRST. We brought local flavor to the FIRST community in a Mardi Gras parade, complete with robotics float and FIRST banners. To support America's service members, 1912 raised supplies and surprises for overseas soldiers in Operation Gratitude, and represented American engineers in the Veterans' Day parade on our team float. Meanwhile, a Times Picayune column written by a 1912 student makes FIRST a hot topic for the whole city. Our networks on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube spread the wildfire via degrees of connection, multiplying FIRSTtime robotics fans. Meanwhile, our award-winning website relays up-to-date information for even teams in Mexico, where a 1912 alumni proudly mentors our FIRST international team.

As 1912 ignites the start of an international community modeled on our uniquely STEM-appreciative Gulf Coast, we keep the true goals of FIRST in sight. Building far more than robots, our members have learned LabView, CAD, animation, and web design in our summer classes attended by teams across the state. We track alumni on our website; 100% of our students pursue college, where 77% majored in STEM fields and several mentored teams in Atlanta, Boston, and now Mexico City. 1912 members opened opportunities in our high school from the American Mathematics Competition and Mu Alpha Theta to programming tournament SPHERES, an MIT-NASA-run chance for winners to program satellites on the International Space Station. The SPHERES team learned C and reached the semifinals. We collaborated with growing interests among school students to build a robot for cheerleaders at football games. This year, members lettered in FIRST robotics like in any other first-class varsity sport. We bonded with paintball and our 6th end-of-season pool party, where spoof awards highlighted quirks and accomplishments. Nurturing diversity, we embraced leadership of USFirst Girls this year in honor of our 5 women presidents. With a foundation of bright young leaders, FIRST Team 1912 continues to spark our people's dreams, dedicated to a sustainable future built on science and technology.

A growing community inspired by the FIRST goals of STEM, gracious Coopertition, and service has sprung up in the Gulf Coast, a fulfilled vision that Team Combustion passionately demos, volunteers, networks, and mentors to sustain. To realize Dean's homework, we emblaze FIRST in TV interviews, newspapers, demo robots, brochures, clothing, and online media. We now push into the international court, rebounding on 7 years' experience to score the strongest tomorrow possible. From children's camps to state legislatures, from blooming marshes to loud parades, FIRST Team 1912 continues to engineer our changing culture, building a lasting community of FIRST partners and alumni Kinections to truly transform our world.

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