Thursday, April 21, 2005


April 19, 2005 Update
Scholarship fund as of 4/18/2005: $47,830
Update, Thursday, April 21, 2005

We left school about 9 am Wednesday morning for an 11:30 flight. Our party consisted of 13 students, 4 chaperones and 1 grandma Teachers Fredi Lajvardi, Ruth Reynoso, Debbie Cameron and I, along with Deb’s mom, Eunice DeRose, are taking 13 of the most fantastic kids to Atlanta for the FIRST National Championships. Several people recognized Christian and Lorenzo from the WIRED article at the airport.---the price of celebrity!

The flight was uneventful. Marie, Cindy and Lorenzo were doing homework the whole flight, Mrs. Reynoso was busy putting the boarding passes in alphabetical order – not a good sign – we will have to watch her.

We arrived in beautiful Atlanta and boarded the subway to the hotel, Deb and Grandma rented a car and became the official Falcon Robotics “crate toters. We celebrated our arrival with a “barbeque beef dinner”.

At the hotel, we met a group of Lego League students from North Carolina. The “Fuzzy Monkeys” are now our shadow team. They come by our pit area and we treat them like insiders. They and we LOVE it.

This morning we went to the arena and unpacked our robot, Adam. He’s been in storage in Atlanta since our March contest in Arizona. Teams are not allowed to work on their ‘bots between competitions. Except for dead batteries, Adam is ready to go. We did some programming, made some minor improvements, and played a few practice rounds.

A team from France came and visited us in our pit area. Gerica, who is bilingual used her French class skills and we communicated rather well. I guess Gerica is bilingual-and-a-half

We have four freshman with us. They are the most amazing freshman we have ever had on our team. Michael and Daniel went to each and every one of the 341 high school team pit area, introduced themselves, told them about our robot team and gave them a copy of the Wired article.

Frosh Marco has taken over the pit area. He has become the consummate Pit Boss. He knows where every tool is supposed to be and he makes sure it’s there. He reminds everyone to wear their safety glasses. We have the tightest pit area in the arena.

Pablo is Lorenzo’s younger brother. He is the master-of-all-trades. He has become our “goto guy”. Freshmen are supposed to be shy and quiet. This year we have veterans. It’s amazing!

Deb and Grandma have been driving around all day doing our shopping: a cart from Home Depot, food from Costco, and driving back to the hotel for the forgotten items. They ran back to Costco and brought back 5 pizzas, 3 cases of soda pop and fruit and salad. Party Central was in Mrs. Reynoso’s room. I guess we won’t worry about her any more,. The kids love her.

The kids are now swimming, relaxing, and getting ready for the competition to start tomorrow.

Breaking News:. We were on National Public Radio’s Here and Now”. You can hear it on their website::

Speaking of websites, Fredi is posting pictures of our trip on our school site:

The FIRST competition is being televised:
NASA Television can be seen in the continental United States on AMC-6, at 72 degrees west longitude, Transponder 9, 3880 MHz, vertical polarization, audio at 6.8 MHz. If you live in Alaska or Hawaii, NASA TV can now be seen on AMC-7, at 137 degrees west longitude, Transponder 18, at 4060 MHz, vertical polarization, audio at 6.8 MHz.
In the Phoenix Areas, COX digital cable channel 117
Direct TV channel 376
The programs listed below are changes to the general NASA Television schedule. All programs subject to change without notice. All times are Eastern U.S. time.

April 22, Friday
1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Eastern Time - Championship/FIRST Robotics, Atlanta, Ga. - AMES

April 23, Saturday
9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Eastern Time - Championship/FIRST Robotics, Atlanta, Ga. - AMES

It is also being webcast over the Internet, but I don’t have the details. Search for “NASA FIRST” and you find the details.

Competition starts tomorrow.

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