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CHS CocoNuts Honored with Numerous FIRST Awards

CHS CocoNuts Honored with Numerous FIRST Awards

Qualifies to compete for highest honor

FLAGSTAFF, Arizona - At a remote award ceremony on May 8, 2021, the Coconino High School “CocoNuts'' Robotics Team received several awards for their robot design and continuing positive impact on the community. The CocoNuts were honored with the Autonomous Award, Dean’s List Finalist Award, and Southwestern Region Chairman’s Award. The CocoNuts will have a remote interview in June to compete for the Championship Chairman’s Award, the highest honor a team can receive in FIRST. 

The Chairman’s Award is the most prestigious honor in FIRST. It recognizes a team that best represents a model for others to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST. The Chairman’s Award is presented to the team that is judged to have the most significant, measurable impact through its partnerships on its members and community over a sustained period, not just a single build season. The winner is able to demonstrate progress towards FIRST’s mission of transforming our culture. The winning team will compete against other winning teams for the Championship Chairman’s Award. 

Due to the continuing health and safety protocols, all FIRST events for the 2021 season were moved to a remote format. Teams competed in a series of skills challenges using last year’s robot and presented their machines to a panel of judges. Teams also had the chance to submit for traditional awards, develop solutions to real-world engineering problems, and create a robot game of their own. 

The Autonomous Award celebrates a team that has demonstrated consistent, reliable, high performance robot operation during autonomously managed actions. Evaluation is based on the robot’s ability to sense its surroundings, position itself or onboard mechanisms appropriately, and execute tasks. 

The FIRST Dean’s List honors student leaders who have led their Teams and communities to increased awareness for FIRST and its mission. These students have also achieved personal technical expertise and accomplishment. For the first time in team history, both students nominated were named Finalists for the FIRST Dean’s List. 

Erick Yoakum is a member of the programming team and in charge of media systems and live-streaming events through the CocoNuts’ YouTube channel. He is a coding mentor for Tynkertopia. Ashton Mitchell is the head of the programming team and did a lot of work developing the vision tracking system. Ashton is also an active mentor for younger FIRST Teams. 

This is the 10th time the CocoNuts have earned the Regional Chairman’s Award and the 14th consecutive year they have qualified to compete at the World Championship level. This recognition comes as a result of countless thousands of hours of hard work at outreach events, running FIRST Tournaments, mentoring younger teams, traveling across the state to put on workshops and presentations and more! This season, in response to the financial hardships many teams are experiencing due to the pandemic, the CocoNuts sponsored several Arizona FIRST Tech Challenge teams in need. 

About the CocoNuts: The CocoNuts Robotics Team from Coconino High School in Flagstaff, Arizona, is the first robotics team of its kind in Northern Arizona. Since its founding in 2007, the CocoNuts have been the recipients of such prestigious awards as the Inspire Award, Engineering Inspiration Award and ten-time winners of the Regional Chairman’s Award. The CocoNuts spend countless hours working in their community to spread the excitement of FIRST Robotics, mentor many of the younger FIRST teams in Flagstaff and the surrounding areas, run professional development programs for new robotics coaches, and host the Northern Arizona FIRST Lego League and Arizona FIRST Tech Challenge Programs. Visit for more information and to get involved. GO NUTS! 

About FIRST®:  Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from three out of every five Fortune 500 companies and more than $25 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition for high-school students, FIRST® Tech Challenge for 7th -12th graders, FIRST® LEGO® League for 9 to 14-year olds, and FIRST® LEGO® League Junior for 3 to 9-year-olds. Gracious Professionalism™ is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to