We met the FedEx team bright and early in the FTC pits for a special event. During the competition, various teams there had been participating in the FedEx April Innovation Challenge. The 3 prizes were checks totaling up to $21,000. We were very excited to help give the winning teams their awards; however, our energy level was nowhere near what it needed to be, considering it was 7:00 in the morning.
To keep ourselves awake, we started dancing to the music that FedEx were playing from their speakers. A couple of the FedEx employees even joined in at one point.
As time went on and more and more FTC teams started coming into the pits, our dance party began to draw eyes. The celebration began with one team called Team Axis.
We began to plug in different peoples’ phones to get music. Over the next hour, our little awkward dancing turned into a massive party.
We left the pits for breakfast only to discover that they had a Segway in the VIP area. So, of course, we had to give it a try.
After breakfast, we headed to the Parks College Airport for flight lessons. We were each paired up with a flight instructor who took us up in planes. As we went past the arch, many of us had the chance to fly it ourselves.
When we returned from Parks College, we had a little free time, so we relaxed by eating lunch and playing cards.
We then proceeded to the closing ceremony VIP area, which was on the upper balconies of the stadium.
Though being up so high with good food was fun, we began to grow jealous of the teams in the dance party below. We discussed it for a few minutes and then headed downstairs with the team mom.
When we tried to get into the ground floor, we discovered that the area in front of the stage was reserved for teams that qualified for awards. But, with a little persuasion with the Head of Security, we got in.
After the celebration, we all took a seat for awards and some inspiring words about all FIRST programs from Dean Kamen and other high authorities of FIRST. A highlight for us was Dean Kamen speaking about the importance of growth of FIRST in under-privileged areas. Our “homework assignment” from Mr. Kamen was to spread FIRST around even more and to “go out of your comfort zone” if you have to.
Added bonus: after the ceremonies were over, the party continued with our first-ever concert.
Over all, this experience was incredible. Each of us learned so many valuable things from incredibly influential people, and we have done more in four days than we had ever hoped to. We are so thankful to have had this opportunity and are forever be grateful to FedEx for making this possible.
Until next time, St. Louis!
– The Ponytail Posse