Falkon Robotics Earn High Praise at Competitions

Crescenta Valley High School’s robotics team Falkon Robotics competed as Team 589 in the FIRST Robotics Competition.

Falkon Robotics competed twice in March representing CVHS at two regional FIRST Robotics Competitions. The first was held March 9 and March 10 at Ventura County. There the team received the Engineering Inspiration Award, which celebrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s school and community. This award also earned CVHS one of four spots (of 48 teams) to advance to the FIRST World Championship in Houston, Texas where it will represent CVHS on the world stage April 17-20.

Its robot, Supernova, built and piloted by Falkon Robotics students, worked through playoff brackets, earning a spot in second place (of 48 teams).

Junior Ethan Lee won the Dean’s List Finalist Award for his contributions as leader in the Falkon Robotics team and community. Junior Rachel Lee received placement as a Dean’s List semi-finalist for her efforts leading the Engineering Expo and outreach across the community.

Jacob Poole earned the Woodie Flowers Finalist Award, which selects just one adult (across 48 teams) at each tournament who is an outstanding team mentor. The Woodie Flowers Award celebrates effective communication in the art and science of engineering and design.

Supernova made it to the playoffs, winning two playoff matches including a nail-biter win with a score of 96 to 93 in the semifinals.

Finally, Falkon Robotics earned the Imagery Award, which celebrates attractiveness in engineering and outstanding visual aesthetic integration of machine and team appearance.

2024 Woodie Flowers Nomination Essay: Jacob Poole
Every FRC team needs a Jacob Poole.
Each day, Poole works as a computer science teacher, coaches our 6 sports teams, and serves as the advisor of 5 school clubs. His most involved duty, however, is as our FRC Team’s co-lead mentor; where he has put in 1,200 recorded hours over the past 3 years, and many more unrecorded hours outside of meetings. Rain, snow, or shine, Poole is always here for 589.
Poole emphasizes the importance of having a student-led team. Previously, the team relied heavily on mentors to manage operations. To engage more students, Poole established 589’s first large-scale student leadership structure of 29 students. Poole teaches us that a leader’s job is not to be the sole decision-maker for their subsystem, but instead to delegate, listen, and communicate. He not only ensures the team is student-led, but that we are informed, making budget and team decisions transparent. His work has developed a student-led team that has allowed us to do 3,224 hours of outreach and run 59 events in the past 3 years, a 2.5x increase from last year to this year.

Poole has given us the tools to communicate effectively as leaders. 589 has grown to over 100 members, but our communication has not kept pace. So, Poole implemented a task spreadsheet for better documentation and cross-subsystem communication. He also built a kanban board: a 17-foot bulletin that tracks tasks, organized by date and subsystem. This board
allows our team’s workflow to be easily seen and understood by anyone.
Poole believes that the best way to grow the team is to create a culture that is fun to be part of.

So, he created a designated leadership position–Social Chairs–in charge of planning fun events like picnics and beach days for students to bond with each other. We have since recorded 1,529 hours attending 21 socials. For all of us, 589 has become a second family where we can make lasting memories, a result of the environment that Poole has created. Poole is always proactive in engaging every member on our team. With so many students walking in and out of our tech shop during build-season, there can be a shortage of tasks for everyone. But Poole always finds a role for everyone, creating projects–like a Go-Kart–that can fulfill and engage even the newest rookies.

Haley – who became a driver during her rookie year – struggled with imposter syndrome. Poole always reassured her that she deserved that opportunity, instilling a confidence that allowed her to go on to be our team’s driver for the next 2 years and ultimately our first student Director of Engineering.

Whether it be reserving school areas for robotics, increasing our school presence, or writing dozens of letters of rec, Poole is the greatest advocate of 589 and its impact on us as students, our community, and the world.

Student Leader Sabrina said it best: “Mr. Poole is someone that you will remember for the rest of your life; he has completely revolutionized our future and the FIRST experience.”