CoCoBEST Success Stories

The following inputs were received from people who were involved in prior CoCo BEST robotics programs. We will update this page as often as we receive inputs. You can see from the inputs that the program goals are to inspire and motivate students to be creative, accept challenges and participate with others in a team environment. Our thanks go the the many volunteers, mentors, teachers, and sponsors without whom the program would not exist. Please e-mail us with your success stories.

In high school I was always certain that I wanted to go to college. Yet I never had any real direction or goals as my experiences were very limited due to growing up in a small community. My junior year of high school (Fall 1998 - Dynamite Duel) I was approached by one of my teachers if I would be interested in joining a robotics team that would engage in a yearly competition. This opportunity was something in which I was very interested and participated in for the next two years.

After helping to start the Celina BEST team, I am very proud to see it has grown while I have been away in college. I have graduated now with a degree in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University at College Station. I am currently an entry level Substation Design Engineer with Grayson-Collin Electric Cooperative, Inc., and I have rejoined the Celina team as a mentor engineer.

If I had not participated in the BEST competitions, I do not believe I would have become an engineer. The competition opened my eyes to the career possibilities in engineering, science, and technology, which have always been an interest of mine. For providing this opportunity and introducing me to a rewarding career, I thank you.

Peter T. Nylec
Texas A&M University
Class of 2003

As a retired engineer, it is marvelous to be on the school Robotics team again this year. These students are energetic and industrious in creating their version of the 1998 robot to compete in "Toxic Troubles". Their individual commitments to team work and elbow grease is very admirable and their achievements reflect on their high goals for the 1998 contest. The team's mentor is a respected, effective and well-liked teacher and the school leadership is very supportive. The students have expressed much thanks to CoCo BEST for the 1998 invitation.

My son wouldn't be at the Naval Academy if it hadn't been for the leadership and teamwork skills learned from participating in the BEST program.

Teach a man to fish and you've fed him for a lifetime. Through skills learned from the BEST competition, students have acquired a better understanding of the engineering process and an increased awareness of organizational necessities. They have been given the facilities to conquer future obstacles and feed their hunger for knowledge.

We want you to know that the BEST program is well worth the time, effort, and expense that the sponsors had to provide. One of my students, a prior participant in US FIRST, said that this contest was better because the students did the work

The NERDS [Naaman Forest, Garland] had a super time at TEXAS BEST, even though we didn't place as high as we thought we could have. We still don't know why our robot seemed to have lost a lot of its power

All I did on the web site was talk about the contest and how proud we were that Mesquite had such a wonderful showing and to represent the Dallas BEST organization

...just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed this years contest. Each year gets more organized and efficient. What I particularly appreciated was the effort that you took to keep the teams on task rather than battling each other. For the last couple of years our machine has been practically destroyed by other teams bumping, knocking and tipping our relatively small device. Nothing was done, and we were rendered helpless by the interference. This year at the drivers meetings the idea apparently got across that interference would not be tolerated, and as a result the contest was much more fair for all, and was much more fun to watch. Unfortunately for us, our team noted in the rules that tipping a machine over was not considered destructive, so in light of our past experience our strategy this year involved a wedge to do that if necessary (tipping someone over that is). So, we were cut off at the knees before contest started! However, that is a minor tradeoff if the contest will continue to enforce the no interference concept. Its so much better than having kids battle it out without being called down for it. Everybody appreciated Anna's victory because they did it in first class fashion.

Thanks again for all your extra work on all this. I dont see how you get it all done year after year. I hope when your energy level flags that you will remember how much you have changed kids lives for the better by doing this reality-based competition. On Friday afternoon before the contest, when I saw our complete documentation book sitting by our completely finished functioning robot, ready to send to check-in, I thought, 'We have won just by getting this far so well'.

Thanks again.

Gary Sorenson, Caddo Mills High School

I have the current privilege of temporarily mentoring a Plano West HS fresh Grad who has been hired into a coop program here. We have worked together for a couple of days and will probably wrap the job up next week and off he goes to other things. The guy is sharp electronically (considering) with NO high school electric/electronic courses. So, yesterday we are walking down the hall doing some small talk and all (giving a tour of the factory) and he says, "Did you ever hear of COCO BEST?". I said yes ....... . He said, "We built this cool robot and ....... ". You could see his eyes light up when he started talking about it. So, my good man, where do you think he got the impetus to take up EE for a career. While I was complimenting him on his achievements, I informed him how fortunate he is to be able to see why he needs to study those hard EE courses, with all of that time consuming homework, and why he needs to make good grades, and what he can do with that education that he probably wouldn't have become interested in had it not been for you and the COCO team.

I salute you sir.
Mark Tomek

Dear CoCo BEST volunteers and sponsors,

I wanted to thank you for all of the work and financial support that you have put into this year's CoCo BEST. I know that you put in long hours of your own time and I want you to know that this program is making a difference.

Lucas Christian Academy is a small (about 250 pK - 12 students) Christian school. This is our first year participating in the BEST competition. With such a small team (only 6 students) and no financial resources it has been difficult at time but rewarding.

Excitement grew throughout the school as the robot was built. The preschoolers viewed the robot as a living-breathing creature. They would talk for hours excitedly about it. The elementary kids viewed the robot as the coolest toy in the world. Siblings of the team members would proudly say, “my sister built that” as if their status was elevated by familial association. The middle schoolers viewed the robot as an exciting project and hoped that they to would get to participate someday. The high school students viewed the robot as a cool incentive to learning. Several high school students have said that they are willingly giving up their summer to take summer school classes at Quad C so they can be enrolled in physics next fall. Finally, member of the robotic team viewed the robot as a new future. Prior to this experience most of the students were unfocused about their future plans. Now most of the team is planning on going to college to major in engineering or science.

Regardless of how LCA does in this year's competition we are already winners. We have succeeded in satisfying the goals of the program: boosting engineering science and technology. We look forward to participating in future competitions and encouraging a new batch of future scientists.

Thank you for such a wonderful opportunity.

Heather Baxter
Lucas Christian Academy