"Whether we win or lose my love for this organization and especially this team will never fade".
Even though my time on the Aluminum Falcons has been short, I love every experience I have had. Going from defeating the first seed at WPI Battlecry to actually being the first seed in not just not one but two competition is amazing. Going from the new kid who rarely spoke to one of the most excitable members on the team. The old saying goes "everything happens for a reason" and after witnessing these last two years there may be some truth to it.
When I first came to Connecticut I thought I had reached "rock bottom". I felt as if I had lost everything I worked to gain throughout the years. Not until I joined FIRST Team 2168, that I realize that this transition wasn't a loss but rather an opportunity to fill myself with something greater. People I saw as strangers I easily grew to love. STEMS, I saw as something foreign, a field that I found myself consistently immersed in. Being a new kid from across country, it was the Aluminum Falcons, that had made it special. Even to this moment now, I still wish I could have came to Fitch before my Junior Year.
Sure, I closed myself off from experiencing at first, but it was FIRST and the Hartford Regional that opened myself up to new experiences. Website design, filming the Chairman's Award, working on the beautiful mechanical obese swan we have now, and just being around people as strange as myself in a good way, feels simply amazing. Sure I may have said negative things during our lows but it is the highs that make those all irrelevant. FIRST is too addicting to quit cold turkey.
I would like to thank the mentors. Our mechanical mentors: Josh, Christian, Aram, Josh, Justin if it wasn't for you guy's genius we wouldn't have the two most competitive robots that we as a team have ever had. Our programming mentors: James, Jun, and Kevin, your work along with the mechanical mentors are seen every time our talented drivers, Tim and Niral step on the field. However, none of this would have been possible without our Head Coach and resident Physic teacher, Mr. Chidley. The countless hours you put into this team keep it running as the efficient team it is now. Without any doubts you deserved the Dave Leenhout's award and the entire team were ecstatic that you won. This last thank you I want to save on the mentor that I spent the most time working with these last two years, Mr. Holroyde. We were an effective team and if it was not for your determination the Chairman's Award would have reached the height it as at now.
FIRST Team 2168, and the Aluminum Falcons are just too awesome to stop soaring. Although, the team will be twelve members short next year, it'll be left in capable and future hands that will keep it going. Anything is possible with a strong foundation. Amazing mentors who generously share their experience to inspire the next generation, competent team captains who both share a love and knowledge for this team that is unparalleled, and an inspiring next generation of Falcons that will elevate this team to the greatness; this team without a doubt is destined for greatness
From "What the hell is an Aluminum Falcon" to "How the hell do you not know the Aluminum Falcons" is the simplest way I can explain our growth in these last two years. Even though IRI will be our greatest adventure it will be our last, and I'm not looking forward to that day. I will miss this team immensely. Although, we'll be separated, you just can't erase memories. I'm grateful for this team and will take, what I've been taught by it into the future. (insert Chewbacca yell here HRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!).
- Daron Chandler, Concept Crew Captain/2012 Webmaster
Mississippi State University/Mechanical Engineering Class of 2016