East West

Behind the jesting ridicule and playful banter, Steve Yasick truly is the most respected member of this group. He is the heart of Team 85, and he is the reason we are able to flourish and succeed. He may not know everything about building a robot. He might not know how to use each machine in the metal shop. But he has taught this team everything we know about courage, initiative, consideration for others, and what it means to live up to one’s full potential.

A strong advocate of the “It’s not winning that matters, but how you play the game” philosophy, Yasick believes strongly in giving every student a voice in key decisions that affect the direction of the team. He also promotes the idea that we are ambassadors of FIRST through such acts as helping to support other teams, hosting the West Michigan Lego League, offering our experience to area Lego teams, and visiting area schools where our robot, BOB, has become a cherished beacon to the younger students of the community. His constant support and encouragement has created a team that is ready to meet any challenge.

It came as a shock to us all when our highly esteemed leader was diagnosed with a rare connective tissue disease called Ehlers-Danlos Type IV. This has required him to undergo a series of major medical surgeries which began during this year’s build season and should continue through the beginning of the competition season. While the team is hopeful that Yasick will attend the West Michigan Regional, it is realistic that he might need more time to recover and we could have to wait until Nationals or beyond. In the meantime, his is sorely missed, but the team perseveres. Our team goes forward for a short while without its leader, but it is the foundation that he has built which provides the stability that allows the team to advance in confidence.

His charismatic nature brings unique elements to the team that has yet to be matched. His humbleness is a model for the team to follow. The challenge of not getting recognized for all that he’s done for us hasn’t fazed him in the least. Even though he’s our leader he is also our friend; one who we can confide in if we have trouble or anything else that we may have a hard time with. Before he left he made sure to put our minds at peace by assuring us that everything was going to be okay.

Steve Yasick, our hero. From his first year of mentoring in 1997 he has affected every student and mentor to pass through Team 85. He has seen people grow, develop and come back year after year for the passion, drive, and zeal that Steve Yasick has encouraged our team to have. He has seen the impact FIRST has had on all of our lives but what he doesn’t know is that his participation in the program has aided in making the impact so influential. He once said, “At first I thought there was no way in the world that I would be able to lead the team. I was only the drafting teacher, responsible for collecting permission slips and organizing team affairs, but now, I don’t think I could live without FIRST. It has become a part of who I am”.