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A Spartronics First: Jon Coonan Named “Dean’s List” Finalist for Worlds

It’s the first time it has happened to a member of Spartronics Team 4915:  Team Co-Captain and Marketing Lead Jonathan “Jon” Coonan was named a FIRST Robotics Dean’s List Finalist and will be attending a VIP Luncheon at the FIRST Robotics World Championship in Houston with Co-Founder Dean Kamen.

At the Dean’s List Celebration Luncheon on Friday, April 24, Dean’s List Finalists from around the World — including Jon and four others from the Pacific Northwest Division — will attend, special guests, Dean Kamen and other FIRST dignitaries, as well as past winners.

Jon’s name was the 5th and last finalist announced at the PNW District Championships in Cheney, WA, just after four other students Jon knows from other FRC teams were announced by Kevin Ross, Founder of FIRST Washington, including CyberKnights Team 4911’s Madeleine Schwitters.

Here is the video of Jon’s incredibly surprised — and appreciative — reaction from the event:

Marketing Mentor Kevin Hawkins, who wrote the nomination along with guidance from Coach Enrique Chee and lead Mentor John Sachs, told judges:

“A born self-starter who embraces new challenges, Jonathan is someone who will spread the word of FIRST around the globe. He knows life is more than robots, but embodies the ideals of FIRST in everything he does. For example, he wanted to do something meaningful for his summer vacation. He went to work as an unpaid communications intern at the Seattle non-profit Hoja Nueva to help migrant cacao growers of Peru. He will travel there this summer and will help build an Education Center for children. He also will attend the MIT LAUNCH Entrepreneurship summit.

“In front of hundreds of children grades K-4 at elementary school assemblies, during our annual 4th of July parade that attracts thousands, in meetings with State Legislators, during gatherings of our civic clubs, at our annual all-robotics team open house attended by 500 supporters, in programs presented at our local mall and at our Arts museum, Jonathan is there, using his exemplary communications skills to get people excited about STEM/STEAM and FIRST Robotics,” Hawkins wrote.

Hawkins, who was invited by Jon as his guest for the Dean’s List luncheon, added, “Jon has a heart of gold and embodies a term we use in FIRST — gracious professionalism — in everything he does. He knows he’s been very blessed in life, and feels compelled to give back. I’ve watched him grow from an overly-eager freshman who possessed this insatiable appetite to discover and learn to a mature leader who is thoughtful, kind and willing to put others needs ahead of his own. That’s a rare quality to find in a high school junior and I’m glad we have Jon one more year. In terms of winning at Worlds? He’s already won. Just ask anyone on our team.”