Coach/Teacher, Student and Parent Testimonials:
Don Saldicco, Teacher and Lead Coach:
What made the biggest impact on me was the growth of my team. I have seen this before but not to this measure. The energy and sheer determination displayed by the team gave off a radiance. A real life experience delivered in an intense jolt. Students learned more about collaboration and workplace professionalism at this event than the whole year at school. We will have to see how these events have affected the team. I saw a gelling of the next generation of Carmel Robotics and new senior mentors realize their place. The team should be stronger and more resilient now focusing on growing its numbers and refining its methods. The competition was a “custom car show”, a display of custom machines conceived and built by local teams of Students, Mentors, Sponsors, and Moms and Dads. The “Gracious Professionalism” rings out at these events creating a euphoric good time for all in range off the good Karma flowing because everyone is cheering everyone.
Jennifer Saldicco, Alternate Coach:
The energy, the collaboration it was infectious even if your team wasn’t winning everyone was winning. Teams helping each other sharing tips making friend crossing international boundaries as there were teams from other countries such as China, Canada, and Netherlands. The team transformed into one organism it was beautiful their faces illuminated, they stood taller and closer together. The connections and the synapsis were energetic. Although we only have 6 girls my girls in gears bloomed into strong flowers with structured stems. All of us grew and were impacted by the completion the event the exposure and the atmosphere. The Robot was just the thing that got us together but it is more than Robot. It is about team building and bonding, collaboration, networking, impact
and finding our voice together and individually.
Brandon Mileti, Mentor and former Team Captain:
The teamwork and collaboration was executed flawlessly during our build time in the pits had the greatest impact on me personally. The qualities that the team exhibited seemed to me as if we were a single well-oiled machine that was able to accomplish much during the competition. I think that this event has brought the team closer together and has given them the realization that the team as a whole was not working towards a small event at a high school, but rather towards something that set us apart from other teams on a global scale. The energy that each team brought to the table was mystifying; it was as if these robots were top players in the National Football League. After every scored boulder or every successful scale, the crowd went wild and that is what opened my eyes to what a huge event this was.
Jeremy Shikarides, Senior Team Member and FRC Team Captain:
Robotics means a lot to me and the FRC competition had a great impact on me. It was a competition but there was no competitive attitudes, it was like the teams weren’t competing against one another but that they were all working together to reach a greater goal. The focus wasn’t on beating other teams. It was on bettering ourselves as professionals and actually completing a goal. There was no superior and subordinate there was an amazing sense of teamwork and how it applied to real life scenarios. I have made great new friends from all over the world. I have talked with and learned from so many professionals and experts. Through FIRST I have seen so many doors and opportunities open for me that would never have been there without this program.
Isabela Yepes, Junior Student Member:
Various things impacted me. The organization of the event, the infrastructure, the teams that came from many different places, all with a great enthusiasm and taking care of all different details like the robot readiness, media, PR, mascots, uniforms even souvenirs for the visitors. It was truly amazing to see adolescents working hand to hand with their mentors in a common goal.
Owen Carmody, Sophomore Student:
The greatest impact was the experience gained from working on a team that was able to band together to a competition. I believe the trip allowed us all to learn more about what it means to work together with others and cooperate for mutual benefit. The competition was a great experience that built memories that will be remembered by many for years to come.
Danielle Rubiano, FTC Team Captain:
It was seeing all the teams there and seeing all the team spirit and it made me realize it’s more than just a robotics competition. It’s more than just robotics because there’s a lot of teamwork involved and it brought our team closer together.
James D’Angio, Senior Member:
Being on a new team entering this competition for the first time, I did not know what to expect. An unfinished robot and little code did not help reassure my slightly disheartened, but determined self. However, as soon as we arrived, the incredible spirit of all the teams, mentors, volunteers, and the helpful environment they created, completely dissipated most of my worries. Everyone was so helpful and kind, and despite all of the teams being rivals on the playing field, there was never even a hint of any hostility or animosity. The popular philosophy of “Gracious Professionalism” which this competition holds in the utmost importance was clearly reflected in all participants. The entire experience was absolutely thrilling and there was never a moment when I regretted coming. Reflecting on the season and on the past three years that I’ve been on the team, I have learned more than just programming and basic robot construction. I’ve learned the valuable skills of teamwork, leadership, and working under pressure – all essential to any future career. With determination, positive spirit, teamwork, and the help of many amazing people, we were able to reach and exceed our expectations and take home the Rookie Inspiration Award!
Anna Mederer, Senior Member:
I found it very powerful to be able to meet so many other people who shared the same love of robotics and STEM and to see some really creative approaches to solve the problems laid before us. It was so inspiring to be a part of such a unique community that is built on innovation and collaboration. This experience created our team out of a group of students eager to participate in robotics. As a result, our team learned the valuable lessons of sportsmanship and collaboration while still having a lot of fun. But most importantly, we discovered that winning did not mean getting first place, but being able to achieve some of our goals. FRC far exceeds the boundaries of just building robots or even promoting STEM. To create a well-rounded and functional team, students of every interest are necessary, since even those who does not work on the robot, like people in art, communications, and business, are key to building a successful team. Also, FIRST cultivates young individuals who exemplify respect, even in the midst of fierce competition. Because it is about gaining knowledge, not winning. Because it is about helping others, not defeating them. Because ultimately, this competition is about sportsmanship and collaboration through innovation, which we like to call “Gracious Professionalism.”
A Parent’s Perspective: Melany Yepes:
Various things impacted me. The organization of the event, the infrastructure, the teams that came from many different places, all with a great enthusiasm and taking care of all different details like the robot readiness, media, PR, mascots, uniforms even souvenirs for the visitors. It was truly amazing to see adolescents working hand in hand with their mentors to reach a common goal, and the impact on the team; from the preparation to the event itself. They learned problem solving, time management, and teamwork. They realized that everything they do to prepare for this is going to be reflected in their performance at the event. It also helps them to grow and learn that hard work and smart work pays off though it may be as an award, in life it is achieving your goals and dreams. That is why it is definitely more than robots. It’s a learning experience.
Mateo Yepes, Future Robotics Team Member and Sibling of a Robotics Team Member:
I think that the competition helps people to understand more about robots and to realize that if you put your mind into something you can achieve your goals!
Our Sponsor, Glenn Stefanski, Engineer GlobalFoundries:
With support from the GlobalFoundries’ Fab 10 Community Outreach Team, I was enabled to take years of technical knowledge and leadership experience and import all of that to a whole new team. I am now a key participant, a sponsor representative, and a mentor to a great bunch of motivated high school students at Carmel High School (Putnam County) who are involved with FIRST Robotics. FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) is an international high school robotics’ competition. Each year, teams of high school students and mentors work during a six-week period to build game-playing robots that weigh up to 120 pounds. Robots complete tasks such as scoring balls into goals, flying discs into goals, inner tubes onto racks, hanging on bars, and balancing robots on balance beams. The game changes yearly, keeping the excitement fresh and giving each team a more level playing field. While teams are given a standard set of parts, they are also allowed a budget and encouraged to buy or make specialized parts.
The team members were multi-talented and understood the integration of electrical, mechanical, automation and control systems, drove the project to a specific goal, solved problems along the way and complied with standards. At the NEW YORK TECH VALLEY REGIONAL held March 16-19 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, the team (Bad News Gears) won the Rookie Inspiration Award. This was the first year Carmel High School had ever competed and all 20 students involved were thrilled to win the award.