Yesterday, Star Wars: Force for Change and FIRST launched the “Build My Droid” contest to inspire the next generation of heroes and innovators in STEM and the creative arts as well as raise awareness of FIRST. Good Morning America officially launched the promotion this morning on live TV, Facebook and Twitter.

In this contest administered by The Walt Disney Company and Lucasfilm, fans and artists ages 16 and up have a chance to design a droid that will be featured in a future story set in the Star Wars galaxy. The competition kicks off in the lead up to the highly anticipated final chapter in the Skywalker saga – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Eligible contestants are invited to submit their droid design in the form of a sketch, drawing, or painting at by November 13, 2019. The winning designer will be invited to the film’s world premiere in December to witness the public debut of their droid design on the red carpet and livestream.  FIRST founder Dean Kamen will be participating on the judging panel. An article about the contest can be found on


Build A Droid - Star WarsBuild A Droid - First Inspire

Dear FIRST Chesapeake Family, 
As most of you know, Kristin Clemons has stepped down as our Director of Programs. Kristin wanted everyone know that she appreciated the kind words, texts, and phone calls last week, and that she and her family are happy, healthy and whole. We wish her the best and hope that she will have some time to enjoy some well-earned rest and relaxation.
Thank you for your patience as we work through this transition. For the time being, we will be splitting the Director of Programs duties between existing key staff. We will be posting these duties, in addition to our regular responsibilities, on the FIRST Chesapeake staff webpage later this week. We will continue to communicate with our teams and volunteers via Constant Contact emails, the FIRST Chesapeake Facebook page, and our website. Individual staff are also happy to answer questions via phone, email, or text. 
Beginning today, please feel free to reach out to the following contacts:
  • FTC and FRC Team questions. Ron Therrien, Assistant Director of Programs. Phone 443.996.7000.
  • FTC and FRC Volunteer questions. Sarah Gagnon, Assistant Director of Volunteer and Community Outreach. Phone 804.380.5165.
  • FTC and FRC Event logistics. Glen Davis, Logistics Manager. Phone 804.928.3506.
  • FTC and FRC team grants, FIRST Senior Mentors, NextUp RVA after school programs, and all other questions. Leighann Boland, Executive Director. Phone 804.514.7712.
As always, if you have any ideas or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me via email or cell. 
Leighann Scott Boland 
Executive Director
FIRST Chesapeake

The Virginia Council on Women will provide one merit-based and one need-based scholarship to high school seniors in each of the five geographic regions across the Commonwealth through a STEM essay contest. This year, merit-based scholarships will be awarded based on the quality of the essay submitted, and the need-based scholarships will be awarded based on the quality of the essay and the individual's self-identified financial need. Award amounts may vary and are determined by the Council annually.  

Contest ends: Friday, January 10, 2020

From the FIRSTinspires webpage:

Last year, a team of FIRST supporters worked together to assemble a suite of ways that teams could virtually experience Planet Primus. I’m happy to announce that the team is back, and excited about making a virtual 2020 field accessible too.

The suite of assets included videos, mobile tools, VR headset applications, desktop content (digital and literal – there was a 3D printable field too!), and simulations. You can peruse all the details on the Playing Field webpage, but the list below will give you a general sense of these goodies:

  • Autodesk
    • Synthesis, a robotics simulator built for FRC teams

The developers strongly encourage you to spend some time getting acquainted with the different hardware and platforms (depending on what’s accessible to you) this fall so that come Kickoff, all you need to do is update the content and you’re off and running safely walking around the INFINITE RECHARGESM field.

Last and certainly not least, a great big thank you to the developer team. This wouldn’t happen without your help. 

Enjoy the show!


Dear FIRST Chesapeake Family, 
It is with great sadness that I am sharing the news of the sudden
passing of Dr. Woodie Flowers. 
It is not often that so many of us get to meet our heroes, and it is ever rarer to have a hero that is willing to turn the tables to make you feel
like the most important person in the room. I can say, without a doubt, that the tens of thousands of team members and volunteers who had
the privilege of meeting Woodie over the years remember that feeling of sincere appreciation that he so freely shared with everyone he met. 
When it's all said and done, no matter how many people know your name, it's your legacy that really matters. Woodie will be greatly missed, but his lasting legacy of gracious professionalism and respect for the individual talents in each and every one of us will live on in our teams and our programs.
If you would like to send your condolences to Woodie's family or know more about the Woodie Flowers Memorial Fund, please see this message from FIRST Headquarters here. 
Leighann Scott Boland, Executive Director
Jim Kresge, Board Chair

The 2020 Safety Animation Award theme is ‘Sustainability on the RISE’. FRC students must submit their team’s Safety Animation video through their FIRST® accountThe student submitting must be marked as an award submitter. Animations must be submitted between Thursday, October 24, 2019, at noon ET and Thursday, December 5, 2019, at 3 p.m. ET. Click here for more information.

You have a student on your team, who above all others, demonstrates leadership, has an entrepreneurial spirit, and is dedicated to increasing awareness of FIRSTFIRST Tech Challenge students are changing the world – help the change-maker on your team further their potential and nominate them for the Dean’s List Award.

The Dean’s List Award recognizes the leaders and ambassadors from each FIRST Tech Challenge team. This recognition helps these inspiring students attract recruiters and stand out on their college applications and resumes.

Read the nomination guide to start yours today. Please note that only students in grades 10 and 11 are eligible. To nominate a student, log into your Dashboard at, click "Certificates and Awards" under Team Options, and select "FTC Dean's List Awards Submissions".

Registration is open for Maryland Robotics Alliance members and, on a space-available basis, for non-members. See flyer here
When: Saturday, November 02, 2019, 08:00am - 03:30pm
Where: Howard Community College SET Building- 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway Columbia, Maryland 21044

Registration link

Last year's schedule and presentations are available here: It is likely that this year's program will be similar.

Joining the MRA is easy and cheap: So, if you're not already a member, please join.

Questions? Contact 

Inclement Weather


In case of Inclement Weather the day of
a FIRST Chesapeake Event,
Please call 804.464.8945
after 5am for updates