East West

LeRoy Nelson joined Beach Cities Robotics in as a mentor 2001. LeRoy’s involvement in supporting others over himself epitomizes the values of FIRST. One such example was at last year’s Southern California regional competition, LeRoy donated his services to the bottom ten teams. One team even beat us in a match. Cathleen Kiritz, a mother of a sixth grader on the team said this on why LeRoy deserves this honor. “Hearing that a student was initiating an application to submit LeRoy Nelson’s name for the prestigious Woodie Flowers Award, I just nodded and thought ‘Of course! Who could be more perfect?’”

LeRoy supports BCR with time, money, materials, tools, and food. For example, during last season when team 294 ran out of sponsor funds, he loaned the team over ten thousand dollars. A noted attribute of LeRoy is that he is very patient in teaching team members new things. As BCR alumni Tiffany Schlittenhart said, “When I first started in the robotics program, LeRoy started me on projects for him and always explained it in terms that I could understand.” Indeed, LeRoy’s dedication in teaching new members has proved essential in the structure of Beach Cities Robotics. His teaching skills have made a deep impression on new members. One team 294 middle school member, Alex Kiritz states, “LeRoy is very patient, nice and knowledgeable. I could always count on him to be at robotics to help me.” Alex’s mother, Cathleen Kiritz, said this about LeRoy. “For a shy boy who is years younger than almost all other team members [joining the team] was a big step. LeRoy was a huge help in making Alex feel welcome.”

During the off season, LeRoy still devotes his time to team 294 and robotics. LeRoy was essential in Beach Cities Robotics’ first effort to mentor a Lego League team. LeRoy helped to organize the inaugural Los Angeles State Qualifier Lego League tournament. Of LeRoy’s organizing this tournament, Cathleen Kiritz said “I had to write to say ‘Thank you BCR!’ What an inspiring sight at the inaugural Manhattan Beach Middle School FIRST Lego League Competition! … The organizers, which includes Team #294’s LeRoy Nelson, did an extraordinary job! Every one of the 18 teams left the tournament feeling like a winner!” Indeed, LeRoy’s efforts are very far reaching. One such example was when LeRoy taught “how to run a robotics’ summer camp” at the Southern California Regional Robotics Forum workshops. This course impressed Carol Lowe of Eagle Robotics Team 399 so much that she made a point of telling a team 294 mentor that LeRoy Nelson “should be getting the Woodie Flowers Award” and insisted several times that team 294 submit him for the award.

LeRoy also donates time to the community. He has been a member of the Mira Costa High School PTSA, Aquatics Boosters, Band Boosters, Technology Committee, the Leadership program, and the planning committee for the Manhattan Beach School district. LeRoy is integral in the education of our children.

In conclusion, nobody states why LeRoy deserves this award better than Cathleen Kiritz, who said “What is most inspiring about LeRoy? It may be his kindness. So many of these wonderful students have great minds and less than great social skills. LeRoy seems to know just the right way to reach out while teaching so that he inspires growth and confidence. LeRoy teaches not only concepts of engineering and physics but also helps students learn how to connect. He is a great guy, a gifted teacher, a generous man and a fine friend. We are so lucky to have him on this team.”