Servos to Service

Servos to Service

by Nolan Handyside

Each year, thousands of teams in elementary, middle, and high schools compete around the world in the FIRST program. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an organization that teaches students about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and, more importantly, essential life skills such as teamwork, communication, and problem solving. Throughout each season, the Chairman’s award is given to teams going above expectations. This award is the most prestigious honor a FIRST robotics team can earn at a competition. The heart of the Chairman’s award is community service.

At every competition, the Chairman’s award is presented to the one team that exhibits how they are a model for other teams to emulate within their community. Most teams compete for this coveted award at their district competitions, having designated students present what the team has done before judges. Our team, the Impi Warriors, have won the Chairman’s Award twice in the past two years at our district competitions. At the end of last season, we decided to aim for a new 2018 goal that would make an even bigger impact through our community outreach: team 1025 made it our imperative to apply our knowledge of STEM and FIRST in an effective way to the global community. 

Knowing firsthand how helpful FIRST robotics is in teaching essential life skills, the team decided that a FIRST Robotics team would benefit students in a developing country. We also believed participation in a robotics program would help steer them toward becoming more STEM-oriented, as it has with most of our own team members, knowing STEM is a blossoming field of exploration. 

While brainstorming ideas about next year’s goal, one team member described how she had traveled to Ghana with her father in order to meet her grandmother and two aunts. During her trip, she had witnessed first-hand the poverty of a devel-oping nation. Knowing how much FIRST has impacted us, and after discussing her experiences, some of us began to ask ourselves, “What if we could help start a First Lego League team in Ghana?” We then proceeded to email several schools in Ghana with information about starting a robotics team. We received our first response from University Basic School in Legon within one week, sharing our excitement about the opportunity. The Impi Warriors then jump started several fundraising events, which included a bottle drive and a limited time only “FLL in Ghana” T-Shirt sale as well as selling Impi Robotics wristbands throughout Ferndale High School. As a team, we worked to raise the money to provide supplies necessary for the team in Ghana to succeed. 

FIRST has taught us the importance of making an impact in our own communities. Awards are nice, but the real lesson has been seeing the lasting impact we can make in our community’s future. As students in Ferndale we have learned that we now have the ability to be participants in the global community and reach across oceans to help everyone succeed. 

Impi Warriors Chairman's Award Videos

The Chairman's Award is the  most prestigious award at FIRST,  honoring the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST. These are the most recent Chairman Award submissions from the Ferndale Impi Warriors.

2018 Chairman's Award

2017 Chairman's Submission

Currently Unavailable

2016 Chairman's Submission

2015 Chairman's Submission