All FIRST teams face adversity, especially those in their rookie year of competition. Through strong support, the team will continue to exist and secure itself as an ongoing beacon for the high school students. On Team 1504, that support we have is named Jamie Robinson. Mr. Robinson, affectionately called “Repo” by team members, has supported the team when nobody else would, and along with his support he’s made the team’s dreams of success into a reality that has helped students on and off the field over the years.
Team 1504, The Desperate Penguins, has been in a few difficult places, and Repo has come through every single time when we really needed it. Over the past two years being involved with our team, Repo has helped out the team by providing his own home as a place to finish constructing the robot when there was no other place available for us. Furthermore, he has aided the team by providing solid teaching practices that help students make the robot they wanted to create. He respects the fact that even though he could force the students to construct a robot with higher functionality, he instead lets the students work toward discovering engineering principles and obtaining self confidence. He has showed his devotion and provided his time. His time includes hours upon hours of CAD drawings up on the computer, and even more hours inspiring students for the time that he is there.
His involvement has aided The Desperate Penguins, even when that required some personal sacrifices on his part. Those sacrifices have not been easy for Repo over the years, but he has found ways to do it and has learned benefits from it too. He has taken some students under his wing and nurtures these students among the years. One such student, Nick Kappler, looks up to Repo as a second father, learning life lessons from him and improving himself along the way. Repo’s tutelage prepared Nick for the leadership role of being a driver last year for our robot, and the tradition may well continue for the both of them. Nick is now a big team leader who teaches the new underclassmen that don’t know the abundance of FIRST competition. Nick’s leadership also helps out the underclassmen on how to become better leaders and better people overall in their lives. Repo’s actions have created a domino effect that creates a recipe for success on this team.
Repo’s tireless efforts have turned the team from a struggling team (formerly called BIG Spartan Robotics), into the team that, contrary to its new name, the Desperate Penguins, is not desperate at all. Last year, Repo volunteered to take the tools for the robot and large amounts of other necessary supplies so that the team could actually compete with the best of them throughout the FIRST program.
Team 1504 has come a long way since it started its rookie year in 2005, and Repo has been there through it all. From the team’s good times and even through the tough times that our team has had as a whole. He has helped the team establish itself to a point where it will continue even after he leaves (we hope he never does!). After all, the best mentors are the ones that not only teach the good concepts, but who perpetuate that teaching and learning so that the team will continually progress and improve with the future of the team.