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LaShawn Thomas Named Mentor of the Year

Posted on October 2, 2023, by J Bradshaw.

“Coach” LaShawn Thomas of Cleveland’s East Technical High School celebrates with her students after being named “Mentor of the Year.” – Image credit: Great Lakes Science Center.  


Congratulations to “Coach” LaShawn Thomas, lead mentor of FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC) Team #8145 (the Tech Warriors of East Technical High School) on being named winner of the 2023 Danielle Chronister "Mentor of the Year" Award.  The award, which recognizes and celebrates one outstanding robotics team mentor from the region, was presented this past weekend at the Great Lakes Science Center’s 3rd annual Curiosity Open Robotics Challenge.  The Curiosity Open is the region’s premier off-season robotics tournament and features some of the top-performing high school teams from southeastern Michigan, Ohio, and western Pennsylvania.

                                                 The prestigious award is named in honor of Danielle                                                    Chronister, a beloved teacher and FRC mentor from                                                      MC2 STEM High School, who was tragically struck and

                                                 killed while crossing the street at the beginning of the

                                                 2021-2022 FRC season by a construction vehicle as

                                                 she was on the way to class.  Danielle was a

                                                 dedicated teacher and a passionate advocate for

                                                 STEM education.   She fought hard to bring the                                                                            program to the students at her school, and to other

                                                 high schools throughout the Cleveland Metropolitan

FRC Mentor Danielle Chronister      School District.

In the weeks leading up to the tournament, students from the participating teams were given the opportunity to write an essay nominating a mentor from their team who both motivated and inspired them.  With so many teams at registered for this year’s Curiosity Open there was no shortage of nominees. However, there was one essay that so impressed the judges the decision was unanimous.  Here is just part of the student essay describing the impact that Coach Thomas has on her students...

​“Coach Thomas has been the driving force behind the success of our school’s robotics program. Through her example, she has instilled in us a strong work ethic and a "can do" attitude. With her guidance, we have learned how to solve problems and effectively communicate with each other. Above all, she taught us the importance of teamwork. Because she believed in us, we began to believe in ourselves, and what we could accomplish together.  Her leadership and tireless efforts have inspired us to achieve excellence, both in and out of the classroom.”

In their written remarks, the judges said it was clear to them that through her innovative teaching methods, ability to adapt to new and emerging technologies in the classroom, and, her unwavering passion for Educational Excellence, Coach Thomas is making a profound difference in the lives of her students. 



Season Calendar 




FRC Mentor’s Workshop

December 2, 2023

Great Lakes Science Center

601 Erieside Avenue

Cleveland, OH 44114



2024 FRC Kickoff Watch Party

January 6, 2024

Great Lakes Science Center
601 Erieside Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114

On-site Build & Practice Sessions

After-School, Weekdays and Saturdays

Great Lakes Science Center
601 Erieside Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114

Buckeye Regional

March 21 – March 23, 2024 (Week 4)

Wolstein Center, Cleveland State University

2000 Prospect Avenue E.

Cleveland, OH 44115

Miami Valley Regional

April 3 – April 6, 2024 (Week 6)

Cintas Center, Xavier University

1624 Musketeer Drive.

Cincinnati, OH 45207

2024 FIRST Championship

April 17 – April 20, 2024

George R Brown Convention Center
1001 Avenida de las Americas
Houston, TX 77010

2024 FRC Recognition Awards Luncheon 

(Date TBD)

Great Lakes Science Center
601 Erieside Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114




2024 Ohio State Championship

May 11, 2024

Worthington Kilbourne High School

1499 Hard Rd,

Columbus, OH 43235

2024 GLSC Robotics Initiative Summer Program (Internship) 

June 10 - July 19, 2024

Great Lakes Science Center

601 Erieside Avenue

Cleveland, OH 44114

2024 Humanitarian Medical Mission 

July 25 - August 4, 2024

[Hospital Name & Address TBD]

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

2024 Kettering Kickoff

September 20-21, 2024

Kettering University

1700 University Ave.,

Flint MI 48504

2024 Curiosity Open Robotics Challenge

September 28, 2024

Great Lakes Science Center
601 Erieside Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114


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