East West

Team 365-MOE began with the vision of one man, John Larock. John is the driving force behind our team’s growth and success: 7 years and 15,000+ volunteer hours later, he has impacted over 140 students from 16+ schools in 4 states through MOE 365.

He’s a force multiplier: he brought together a parent support group, then the MOE executive team, and in 2004, helped establish FIRST State, Inc., a non-profit group to fundraise and lead the robotics initiatives in DE region. He helped establish 3 FRC and 3 VEX teams in our area. He established and organized the DE VEX tournament.

John is the connector (“the duct-tape that holds our team together.” – Will H.) He recruits mentors and students, forms alliances, e.g., Duel on the Delaware off-season event with Salem Community College and Team 316, fundraises and performs community outreach through public robotics demonstrations.

John is an educator: he developed a middle-school robotics course, co-wrote a chapter for an encyclopedia of science education to be published this year, and presented twice at the FIRST Robotics conference. In cooperation with Salem Community College, John created a robotics skills training program that earns the students up to 18 college credits. John coaches our ambassadors and spokespersons with confidence and presentation skills for FIRST events (Chairman’s Awards) and public presentations such as Rotary Club lunches and school demonstrations. John also coaches the team strategists and scouts, important roles on our team.

John is an innovator: he developed MOEmentum, a web-based newsletter to guide rookie teams through the build season. To recognize individuals who were gracious, spirited, and/or helpful, he challenged us to design and award personal recognition pins at regional events in 2005. This year FIRST is piloting them for all teams at the Pittsburgh competition.

John is a gracious professional: he teaches by example to be gracious—in winning and in losing, to work and play hard, think of others and believe in us. John assists other teams and regional events without hesitating. At the Capitol Clash last fall, he was recognized for his generous assistance. He teaches us to assist when we can at competitions and in mentoring FLL, VEX, and JFLL teams. (John coaches a JFLL team too!) One student wanted to read books at a local library. John encouraged him to think bigger and drew others into the project. Our team’s “Reading with Robots” program has reached hundreds of preschool and early elementary students. Team authored books were donated to schools and libraries. They were even used to teach the principles of simple machines to students in Zambia.

John is an effective communicator: A multi-school team from 4 states requires communication. John’s emails keep the MOE community connected. John’s leadership and organization keeps the team focused and on track. “Each day he asks student leaders to report on their sub-teams. Our contributions are important; we are not just students”. – Melissa F.

John cares about students: “If you’re presenting something John always tries to make sure you’re prepared. If you’re nervous he gives you a pep talk.” – Rachel S.

John arranged for a home-schooled student 2 hours from DE to join our team. A local newspaper reported about a girl interested in engineering. He contacted her mother, explained the program, and recruited her daughter for the 2006 team.

John excites us about engineering, science and technology: 95% of MOE students have attended college with 82% pursuing science and technical careers; and eight FIRST scholarships have been awarded.

“John sees beyond the robot; everyone else sees the mechanical but he envisions the bigger FIRST picture.” – Jessica S.