John Jay's FTC Robotics Team & the INSPIRE Award

Posted by Amy Watkins on 5/10/2021

Congratulations are in order for our own FTC Robotics Team #16700 JAYBOTS as they won several awards this past weekend at the 4th Qualifying Tournament for the Excelsior Region:  

The team won 2nd Place for the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award for their unique gripper design  (which is no small feat). The even bigger news is that they earned the 1st Place INSPIRE Award, the most prestigious award given at any level of competition!  While it is often informally referred to as an "MVP" award or an award for "Well-Roundedness", neither of those approximations do it justice because as you can see in the description below, the team must be in the running for most of the judged awards, meaning that they are doing well in every single category; this does not just mean just coding or building, it is design, documentation, recruitment, connections with STEM professionals to learn more, teaching or tutoring local kids and offering STEM programming for them, charitable service, team spirit, and general professionalism all-around.  

To give you an idea of how important this award is weighted in the FTC Robotics community, the winners are advanced to the next level of competition BEFORE even the Captain of the Winning Alliance in the Finals (or this year, the Team that scored the most points overall). The JAYBOTS are headed to the Regionals!

If you see these team members, make sure to congratulate them:

Darren Wang
Ashish Thomas
Jared Yeung
Robert Zhu
Anaya Pandya
Anish Anne
Arnav Mishra
Dillon Anthony
Eve Steckmeister
Matthew Laverde
Mili Biguvu
Silvia Bilenky
Tyler Sammer
Paul Finch


What is the INSPIRE Award? From the Game Manual, Part 1:

INSPIRE Award: This judged award is given to the team that best embodies the ‘challenge’ of the FIRST Tech Challenge program. The Team that receives this award is a strong ambassador for FIRST programs and a role model FIRST Team. This Team is a top contender for many other judged awards and is a gracious competitor. The Inspire Award winner is an inspiration to other Teams, acting with Gracious Professionalism® both on and off the playing field. This Team shares their experiences, enthusiasm, and knowledge with other teams, sponsors, their community, and the Judges. Working as a unit, this Team will have showed success in performing the task of designing and building a Robot. Required criteria for the Inspire Award:

  • Team shows respect and Gracious Professionalism® to everyone they meet at a FIRST Tech Challenge event. 
  • Team is a strong contender for several other judged awards. The Inspire Award celebrates the strongest qualities of all the judged awards. 
  • The Team is an ambassador for FIRST programs. They demonstrate and document their work in their community. 
  • Team is positive and inclusive, and each team member contributes to the success of the Team.
  • Team must submit an engineering portfolio. The engineering portfolio must include engineering content, team information, and a team plan. The entire engineering portfolio must be high quality and well-organized.
  • Robot design is creative and innovative, and the Robot performs reliably on the field. The Team communicates clearly about their Robot design and strategy to the judges. Team interview session is professional and engaging.