Read the student submitted essay below.
IRI Mentor of the Year
Nomination from TechFire 225
Our mentors are all fantastic, dedicated and engaging. This year, one mentor has really stepped up and has gone above and beyond… and beyond.
There is a lot we could say about Donnie Krtanjek - so much that it’s hard to choose where to begin. Donnie has made a huge, positive impact on almost all aspects of our team. He has brought us many sponsors, which our team relies on as we are a community-based team, rather than school-based team. Without these sponsors, our robot doesn’t get built but there’s so much more. Donnie contacted a sponsor and was able to get us tablets which enabled us to create and use a comprehensive scouting app. With that app we are able to analyze our competitors at each event and make well-informed choices during alliance selections.
“The tablets that Donnie got for us have made a huge difference in our scouting team. It not only provides more accurate and reliable data; it also kept our scouting team engaged and excited watching the matches. We felt so helpful to the team and I’m sure it’s big part of why we had a successful competition season.” Elle Wagner, Scouting Team Member
Donnie also reached out to a potential sponsor who donated our awesome new trailer - which is big enough to bring three teams’ robots and gear all the way here to IRI. And, by the way, he also transports our trailer to every event. Whether it’s Philadelphia, Baltimore, St. Louis or Indianapolis, we always know our robot, gear and pit will get to events safely and on time thanks to Donnie.
Beyond sponsorship, Donnie is an outstanding mentor and role model for all of us on the team. He worked tirelessly during build season and was at our shop just about every day. Patience and learning were key this year, since we had so many new team members. Donnie was able to engage and educate us well enough that we had a new pit crew that kept our robot in action at every competition without missing a single match. They were even able to cheesecake our alliance partner robots at our first two district events and still keep our robot primed and ready. He consistently makes sure that each and every student member is learning and growing.
“Donnie has personally made a huge impact on myself, both in general lessons about character and in technical aspects including computer networking, electrical wiring, and mechanical work. I am looking forward to working with Donnie as a mentor for the rest of my high school FRC career and I am sure that I will maintain contact with him for the rest of my life.” Adam Wolnikowski, Driver and Lead Programmer.
More than anything, Donnie has fostered a spirit of teamwork and camaraderie that helped our new and existing members come together to build a winning robot. His positive attitude showed us that our goal of making it to Einstein was attainable when we doubted it ourselves. And we were only six points away from realizing that goal and left Worlds as finalists in our division.
It’s all these things and so much more that make Donnie an outstanding mentor deserving of recognition. He won’t like that we’ve done this and nominated him. He’ll say that we should have written about another mentor. He’ll say he’s just happy to help the team. We say that for once, he is mistaken. Donnie Krtanjek definitely deserves to be Mentor of the Year here at IRI. We know we wouldn’t be here without him.