FIRST Impact

What does FIRST mean to Team 181?

Alumna Melinda Guzman:

“Dedication, commitment, responsibility. Through FIRST I have had an opportunity to really know what it means to be all of the above.  FIRST has made me more open minded and knowledgeable.  I was able to express my leadership skills and with that, I was able to learn that in my heart, I am a leader.”

Alumna Tianna Glass:

“Joining FIRST was a wonderful experience for me, because it taught me to open up as a person and stop being shy.  I earned a chance to participate and feel like a part of not only a team, but of a large and welcoming family.” 

Alumnus Khuong Vu:

“FIRST is a program that has further expanded my horizons in engineering.  The preparation and actual building of the robot intrigued me to pursue my interest in this field.  FIRST has truly fulfilled its acronym.  It inspired me to recognize science and technology.”

Engineer Gary Hilbert:

“I believe in the FIRST concept of bringing students, teachers, and engineers together to work as a team on a fun, interesting and challenging project. I think everyone benefits and learns in many ways from these interactions.  For me personally, FIRST gives me the opportunity to remain connected with young people now that my own children have grown.”

Alumnus Nery Cruz:

“FIRST to me was the beginning of my career as an engineer.  It motivated me and guided me into the career path I’m currently on and influenced me in my choice of schools.  FIRST was also my family away from home. It taught me a lot about friendships, communication, conflicts, and most of all how to have fun and still do something that is worthwhile.  I love my Birds of Prey family and will always be a bird of prey in heart.”

Alumnus Heriberto “Eddie” Rodriguez:

“To me, personally, FIRST has been an inspiration.  It has changed my life completely.  I went from being a “C-D” to a straight “A” student; from wanting to become an accountant to being an undergraduate student at CCSU, majoring in Mechanical Engineering, with a GPA of 3.2.  If it weren’t for FIRST, I would probably be working in a minimum wage paying job.  Thank you, FIRST.”

Alumna Yeshiva Cohen:

“FIRST meant a chance to do things that I wouldn’t have had the ability to do otherwise.  I learned a lot of skills, not only how to use the tools, name the materials and build a robot, but also how to bend as part of a team, how to voice my opinion and how to get people motivated. It gave me a chance to be part of a team that didn’t involve being athletic or having a specific talent.  Rather I was valued for being myself and being part of the whole.  It also gave me a chance to make awesome friends that I otherwise would have had nothing in common with, but because of this program, we will be friends for a very long time, and we will always be Birds of Prey.  FIRST is one of my best high school memories, and I’m thankful for every experience, even the ones that didn’t go so well.  FIRST is a truly unique, life changing experience, and one that I am always going to have fond memories.”

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