We hope this Christmas finds you well and that you have had a great year. 2015 was a very successful year for our FIRST Robotics Competition team, The Hitchhikers. Christian was a mentor, Carl was a co-captain, and Bethany was the business lead. They were a Regional Finalist at the Palmetto Regional where they also won the Gracious Professionalism Award. They were a Regional Winner at the North Carolina Regional where they also won the Engineering Inspiration Award and the Industrial Safety Award. They qualified and competed at the Championships in St. Louis where they did not win anything but had a great time. While in St. Louis, we also went up the Gateway Arch and toured the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. Miriam has now joined the team, and Bethany has become a co-captain.
This summer was Miriam’s turn to go to Philmont Scout Ranch with her Dad. We first flew to Denver to spend a few days in the Colorado Springs area getting used to the higher altitude. While there we enjoyed the Air Force Academy, the Garden of the Gods, going up the incline railway to Pikes Peak and biking down, the Cliff Dwellings Museum, and white water rafting on the Arkansas River. Our 12 day trek at Philmont covered around 88 miles with the peak being climbing Baldy Mountain at 12,441 feet of elevation. We also enjoyed climbing the Tooth of Time, throwing atlatls, spar pole climbing, shooting shot guns, and rock climbing. Of course we also saw lots a great views along with wild flowers and animals.
In addition to joining the Hitchhikers and going to Philmont, Miriam has been very active in dance. She is part of the dance studio’s company and danced the part of Aurora in her studio’s Sleeping Beauty recital in which she danced her first pas de deux. Miriam also joined Venturing this year and serves as Quartermaster for the Crew. She is a high school freshman this year.
Along with robotics, Bethany has been very active in Venturing this year serving as Crew President in the first part of the year and now as Vice President of Administration. She serves in the same position in our council’s Venturing Officers Association. Bethany served on staff this summer of our council’s National Youth Leadership Training. She has been taking classes at Durham Technical Community College and is a high school senior.
Carl once again entered C-SPAN’s StudentCam competition this year earning an honorable mention which meant he won an award at every level of the competition over the years. Carl was a lawyer on his mock trial team earning multiple Best Attorney Awards while his team was a finalist at the Fayetteville Regional. He graduated from high school this spring and is now a freshman at North Carolina State University where he is double majoring in Computer Science and Communications. Carl also earned a Watson Scholarship from IBM.
Christian is now a junior at East Carolina University majoring in Computer Science. Leslie-Jean continues to enjoy homeschooling the girls. Dan completed his first full year at Lenovo and likes the direction things are heading.
Our family’s travel destination this year was St. Louis. Why St. Louis? Because that was where the FIRST Championships were. The travel destination for Joseph and Mary for the original Christmas was Bethlehem. Why Bethlehem? Caesar Augustus had declared a census for all to register in their own town. This sent Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem as we are told in Luke 2:4: “So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.” What was the significance of Bethlehem? It had been prophesized that the Messiah would be born there in Micah 5:2: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient times.” The birth of Jesus fulfilled that prophesy. We celebrate Christmas as the birth of Jesus who would go on to live among us for 33 years fulfilling many more prophecies. He then died for our sins by being crucified on a cross. He rose from the dead after 3 days and now reigns in Heaven. Let us all remember at Christmas the greatest gift ever given to the world: the birth of our Savior, Jesus. We wish you a very, merry Christmas and hope 2016 will be a blessed year for you.