Sunday, January 27, 2008

Letter from Mary Lee from St. Clare's Elementary School

Hi Randy and Norm,

I write to you because yours are the faces most familiar to me when I walk into the Riverbank State Park facility each year. But I know there are countless others who are involved in making the F.I.R.S.T. LEGO League citywide event -- and all the components and qualifiers leading up to this venue -- a success. St. Clare's would like to congratulate you on another great year and thank you and all your staff for the incredible work they do for our youth.

As for my team getting the overall Champion's Award this year, I have one way to describe it ... Wow!
Like any coach who was there, I was proud of how my students performed throughout the day. I was happy for any awards we received, but I did not expect to win something of this magnitude this year since this was to be a rebuilding year for us. I was on the other side of the room with another one of my teams to congratulate them on an award at the photo area when the final award of the day was being announced. And as the speech progressed about the winner, I started to think, "Hey, that sounds like us!" Then I thought, "What a coincidence! Another team here has adopted a pond? And did a zoo research project?"

The heart started to race. Then I heard talk about the nice performance and teamwork the team displayed. I never actually heard the part when they named St. Clare's the winner because the noise level around me started to grow. The next thing I remember were the parents and kids around me jumping screaming, "We won!" I literally could not move for a minute, which is why I was delayed walking down to thank the judges, referees and tournament directors. It was surreal. When I finally made my way back to the photo area where my whole team had gathered to celebrate and they group hugged me, then it finally hit me. Amazing!

Please convey to your staff how thrilled we all are to have received this bid and how thankful we are for the enriching opportunities the FLL program has provided us. Your programs enable students to think outside the box, to work as a team to solve problems, and to see they can make a difference in this world. Each year I am more amazed by what I see at this venue and in my own classroom. Many of our research projects do not ever end. We are still involved in projects from past years and have become active members of the community because of them. I can honestly say that there is nothing I do as a teacher that is as rewarding.

When things settle down, please send me the contact information on the nationals in Atlanta so we can try to make arrangements to bring our team. Also feel free to pass my information on to the FLL representatives who are running this event. Since we have never done this before, I would appreciate any help, support, advice, suggestions you can give.

We consider it an honor and a privilege to represent New York City in the nationals. It has been a dream of ours to earn this spot, and we will do our best to make it happen and to make you all proud. Thank you for making so many dreams come true every year for so many children.

Here are two links to media sites that report on St. Clare's team and their accomplishment in the citywide robotics tournament for the blog.

New York 1 - Video on St. Clare's getting bid to World Festival

Staten Island Advance - Online story on St. Clare's winning the FLL citywide robotics tournament


Mary Lee
St. Clare's Elementary School
Contact information
St. Clare's Elementary School, 151 Lindenwood Road, Staten Island, New York, 10308

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