According to the dictionary definition, a hero is a man admired for his achievements and qualities. I would love to introduce you to Matt Driggs, team 330’s hero, and the only mentor even nominated by the Beach Bot students for the Woodie Flowers award. Seven years ago, Mr. Driggs, a Raytheon engineer, decided to join our team. That decision would impact the entire team forever. Every single year since then as our lead mechanical engineer and drive team coach, Mr. Driggs has inspired and pushed our team to become the best that we can be. As a result, every single year, our team has improved, including our six regional first or second place finishes and eight awards. Beach Bot team mentor and member of the Southern California Regional Planning Committee Ric Roberts states, “Matt Driggs creativity and excellent work ethic is contagious. He is a real hero the students can look up to.”

Team 330’s motto is “Putting Others FIRST” and Mr. Driggs leads by example. Through the six week build period, Mr. Driggs spends countless hours sketching, designing, and helping the Beach Bot students finish our robot. He even leaves work early to drive students down to our machine shop 30 miles away, and stays countless hours with us, even when he could be doing numerous other things. Last year I was privileged to work with him on our drive train, and those are days I will never forget for the rest of my life. I learned so much; I now know everything anyone ever needs to know about sprockets, gears, wheels, and bearings. This year, I was able to use the lessons he taught me to assemble most of our team’s six wheel drive train. I wouldn’t trade those lessons for anything. In fact, I didn’t even really know what an engineer did until I met Mr. Driggs. He not only taught me what an engineer does, he inspired me to become a mechanical engineer when I had not even considered a math/science based career.

Although not a teacher by profession, all team 330’s students can agree that Mr. Driggs is one of the best teachers a student can ever dream about. He can even make trigonometry exciting! If any of the Beach Bot students have a question, we know who to go to for an answer. Mr. Driggs is brilliant and will always stop whatever he is doing, no matter how important, and answer any question one of us has. He also cares about the students personally. This is exemplified when he asks us if our homework is done yet and makes sure we are still doing well in school during the hectic build season. Also, he encourages us to stay in school and go to a good college.

Why does Mr. Driggs sacrifice for us faithfully each and every year? Is it because he has a student on the team? No, that is not the answer, since he has no students on the team. Is it because he has a child enrolled our school? Nope, that’s not it either, because he does not have any children. Is it because he gets paid? No, he does this all voluntarily and even is one of our sponsors by helping to pay for some of our expenses. The answer is this: He is a man just like Woodie Flowers—generous with his time, knowledgeable in his craft, and selfless in mentoring students. I beg you to help us recognize our hero, Matt Driggs, by honoring him with the Woodie Flowers Award.