The Captain Jack Sparrow of FIRST Mentors
Continued from the May 2007 Newsletter...
Since then the team and Cliff have been striving for the coveted Chairman's Award. This year the team excelled and won the New York City Regional along with Team #1302 and Team #2274. In Atlanta for their second time the team learned a great deal and continues to improve every time they compete on that level.
Just as impressive is that fact that Cliff spent hours away from his pirate crew to work with a rookie team in the Bronx. On the third week of build season Cliff got a call from a friend of his named Ben Taylor who used to mentor with the G-House Pirates.
At church one Sunday Ben had heard about a new team starting in the Bronx so he decided to offer his time. Team #2203, better known as the Cyber-Eagles, from Eagle Academy for Young Men had just completed a successful introduction to FIRST via the Bronx LEGO League Tournament. Suddenly, they had a kit of parts and little expertise to rely on.
That is when Ben sounded the trusty pirate horn. The third week of build season was upon them and when Ben told Cliff that the team had few resources and chassis that didn't work Cliff's response was classic. Other pirates look for calm seas and smooth sailing. Cliff saw the challenge ahead and responded with a deadpan, "that's great."
That Saturday Cliff trekked from Brooklyn to the Bronx and immediately liked what he saw. In a makeshift bike shop a dozen young men were unsure of themselves but ready to do whatever it took to get the job done.
When asked why he comes back year after year Cliff offered the following. "Every year the mechanical part gets easier, but getting the team to do all the things outside the building of the robot is a fun challenge. This year we didn't take everyone to the Championships because their grades were not good enough. Now we require the team to spend some time doing homework together."
Just like that, Cliff identifies the problem, and offers up a simple solution that can make a world of a difference.