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Avenue A, C.A.R.E.S., Representation

Kofi and Robotics: Choosing A Transformer


Kofi joined the robotics team, and his dad, who is coaching this season, encouraged him to dream big about what they’ll build. Even though Kofi is a natural leader, he is feeling scared to share his ideas with his new teammates.

Kofi and Robotics: Choosing A Transformer

The season kickoff for robotics is starting and I couldn’t be more excited. This year, my dad is stepping in as our coach, which is right up his alley as a software engineer. I know that together we can make the team unstoppable. Dad is a no-nonsense type of coach—always pushing me to go further than I think I can. Things might get hard, but he reminds me that I’m stronger than I think and that I can see things through.

At the dinner table, we were brainstorming what the team should build first. My brain started running a mile a minute. For months I’ve been dreaming about building a huge robot that can differentiate between colors and throw balls at robot competitors.

“It’s okay to start small, Kofi,” Dad encouraged.

I let out a little sigh. When I start something—I want to go all the way.

Kofi and Robotics: Choosing A Transformer

As soon as I finished my meal, I excused myself and took out my sketchbook to draw pictures of robots that could walk and talk, blink their eyes, and wave hello. I even drew robotic bugs that could fly. I heard a little knock on the door. It was Dad. He had a smile on his face.

“At our first meeting tomorrow, I want you to tell the team about your dream builds,” he said.

My stomach dropped. I looked down at my sketchbook. Am I ready to share my ideas? Will everyone else think they’re silly?

Dad looked at me knowingly. “You have so many good ideas. You’ll take a deep breath, get up there tomorrow, and share your favorite one,” he advocated.

The next day I had to make a decision. What was I going to share? All throughout class I thought about what I would say to my new teammates. What if they didn’t like my plans?

Kofi and Robotics: Choosing A Transformer

“Take a deep breath, Kofi,” I repeated in my mind.

I closed my eyes and felt my belly fill up with breath, then I let it all out.

It's normally so easy for me to step up to the plate. When I trained with my dad for soccer, it was tough but worth it. Why does this feel harder?

The bell rang and I walked down the hall to room 302 where our meeting was being held. From the window I could see the soccer field. The butterflies in my stomach changed from scared to excited and to a combination of the two. I know how to do this, I thought. I know which plan to bring up.

When I stood up to share my idea—a buzzing bug that can fly around the room with solar power —I watched my friends' faces light up. Shen gave me a thumbs-up. My dad nodded his head. “Great choice!” he said.

When I sat back down, I felt empowered. All I could see was my idea buzzing around the room, filled with endless possibilities.

Kofi and Robotics: Choosing A Transformer

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