Volunteer Spotlight: Gryphons.exe

Gryphons.exe is a high school robotics team in the United States that not only volunteered at the 2017 FIRST Global Challenge, but also went out of their way to help Team Iran through the Global STEM Corps. Team Iran’s robot kit – a box containing robot parts provided by FIRST Global – was not approved for shipment to Iran due to sanctions on technology exports to the country; this prevented them from assembling the robot they needed to compete. In turn, FIRST Global recruited FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team 5549, the Gryphons.exe, of George C. Marshall High School in northern Virginia. The Gryphons.exe team is composed of students Elena, Kirsten, Kiki, Sean, and Mo, along with mentors Sam, Joshua, and Teresa – from George C. Marshall High School. They eagerly partnered with Team Iran to physically build and program their robot to the exact design and programming specifications that Team Iran provided, communicating frequently via Skype.

In order to recognize the Gryphons’ dedication, hard work, an undeniable passion for STEM and helping other students who want to improve their skills through the sport of robotics, we’d like to give them this space to tell us what motivates them to volunteer, what their FIRST Global experience was like, and why volunteering is so important at events like the FIRST Global Challenge:

“Volunteering is important because as a new FRC team, we’ve faced many of the same struggles. There were always volunteers from the FIRST community there to help us, and we feel the need to give back wherever possible.

It was an incredible, once in a lifetime experience to be able to work with people from all around the world. The culture of collaboration fostered in Constitution Hall for the weekend was inspiring, as we watched teams from countries at war working together.

Competitions like FIRST Global are important because many robotics competitions are impossible to access for kids who live in countries that aren’t as developed. The lack of established expertise in their country could mean they have nowhere to start. FIRST Global helps make the connections necessary to create robotics programs all over the world, not just the wealthier nations.”

See the inspiring story of their friendship in the video below.