25 May 2005

The Year In Review - Awards Night 5/24/2005

We faced many challenges over the course of this past season. We lost 12 seniors almost a year ago, a dozen dedicated and involved students who've gone off to pursue their dreams. It's what happens, we should be getting used to it by now.

Their departure created a tremendous hole in our team. A new crew of freshmen, sophomores and juniors joined the team at the beginning of this school year and filled that hole. I have to say that I had my doubts as to how well we could do. About half the team was gone, and the half that remained was still learning the ropes.

On top of that, the landscape was changing at BAE, and we had new hurdles to jump, new security policies to abide by and new rules to operate under. More challenges, but none that couldn't be overcome.

We had to run the Rear Mill like a real laboratory, with the same rules that the rest of the company follows. Terry Baron taught you those rules and you never forgot.

Who has forgotten the definition of what could be thrown away?? Anyone care to tell us??

Not once was anyone from BAE concerned about the Rear Mill's cleanliness and order this year. You all saw the big picture and understood what it meant.

You all know what to do when you hear "Cleanup time!" or "Get 'er done!"

"Bring out your bottles! Bring out your bottles!" Who started that??

"The Wall" isn't just a song from Pink Floyd and "standup" isn't just something you do when your done sitting around.

Teamwork is what FIRST is all about. Yes, the robot is important, but not so much as the journey that we all take to get to that end. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of this team and how well they work together. There's no way, in my mind, that we could have accomplished so much without teamwork. You all pulled together to build the best machine yet. Cleveland was testament to that effort; Chop Shop showed them all what New England teams are made of.

Who else but Chop Shop could spend time in the pits this past weekend piecing a broken guitar together?

Where are Chop Shop's resident "air guitarists"?? Rock on, Dudes!

Who else but Chop Shop's pit crew would help other teams?

You're awesome!

To the 'original' team members: Thanks for being there for your rookie teammates. You made it possible for them to come up to speed so quickly. You listened to their ideas, and encouraged them along the path. You understand what teamwork is all about.

To the 'rookies': Thanks for showing such enthusiasm from the beginning. Some of you had an idea of what FIRST is all about from family members, some of you knew about FIRST from friends and some of you had no idea of what you were signing up for. You are an amazing bunch, and I most certainly look forward to several more years working at your side.

To the returning mentors: Nuts, that's what you all are, plain and simple. But you all see the same picture, have the same desires, the same drive and dedication that is so necessary to help a team be successful. You bring continuity to this program and without you, we wouldn't be where we are today. You all share a common vision.

To the rookie mentors: Rookie only because this is your first year as a mentor; you certainly didn't act like rookies, you all looked like you'd been doing this forever. Some of you are no strangers to FIRST, and it's your experience, wearing the shoes of the student team member, that meant so much to our success. You never forgot the past while looking towards the future.

You have become a part of the common vision the veteran mentors' share… now it's yours too.

What's next?? Growth, that's what. We've been given an opportunity to show Merrimack High School what we're made of, what we're all about, what we can do. The faculty is already pretty impressed with what you've been able to accomplish.

The Tech. Ed. Department's faculty members who want to help next year are going to add more depth and breadth to the ranks of the mentors. We will only get better at what we do and how we do it.

I see good things in store for Chop Shop and Merrimack High.

Thanks to Mr. House-Myers and Mr. Putney for all their help in making this transition a reality. Yep, there's a lot more to be done between now and next September to get settled, so stay tuned over the summer for news.

You all keep me from getting old in the head, you all teach me something new every day.

It is a privilege and an honor to be associated with such talented and dedicated people.

Thanks to all of you for allowing me to work with you.

There isn't anything that I'd rather do.