FIRST recognizes local students, teams, volunteers in awards ceremony

Heartland and Central Missouri FIRST Robotics Competition Regional Awards

Local students, volunteers and partners recognized in online ceremony as FIRST community celebrates virtually

May 5, 2020—Although game play for the Infinite Recharge FIRST Robotics Competition season was suspended due to Covid-19, online judging for several awards continued. Last week, award recipients from the Heartland and Central Missouri Regionals were announced during a live broadcast from FIRST headquarters. Here’s a look at local students, volunteers and companies recognized during the celebrations:

Heartland Regional FIRST Robotics Competition

Corporate Volunteer of the Year

Each year, the Kansas City Regional Planning Committee honors a corporate partner for supporting STEM education through FIRST Robotics. This year, the honor goes to Evergy.

Screenshot of Award Ceremony

“Evergy’s consistent support of FIRST in Kansas City makes a real difference for students,” said KC STEM Alliance Executive Director Martha McCabe. “The commitment to STEM education and the many hours Evergy associates put into volunteering for FIRST events is a game changer.”

Screenshot of Kevin Koepsel

The Heartland Regional Volunteer of the Year honor went to Honeywell associate Kevin Koepsel.

Screenshot of Heartland Dean's List Finalists

Jakob Graber of Team 935 Raile Robotics, Newton, Kansas; and Nathan Shaw, Team 5126 EMP, Park Hill School District were named Dean’s List Award Finalists for the Heartland Regional. The Dean’s List Awards celebrate outstanding student leaders whose passion for and effectiveness at attaining FIRST ideals is exemplary.


Central Missouri Regional FIRST Robotics Competition

Screenshot of Nancy Spatz Volunteer of the Year Award

Nancy Spatz was honored with the Central Missouri Regional Competition’s 2020 Volunteer of the Year Award.

Screenshot of Central MO Regional Deans List Award Finalists

Dean’s List Award Finalists for Central Missouri were Team 5119 Team STEAM’s Ryan Roberts from Lawrence and Team 5098 STING-R’s Oliver Norris from North Kansas City.

The online ceremony also recognized the Knob Noster High School Stealth Panther Robotics, who won the Chairman’s Award in the Green County Regional.


About FIRST in Kansas City:

FIRST is a robotics community that prepares young people for life through engaging, hands-on robotics challenges developed to ignite curiosity and passion in students in grades PK-12. FIRST builds powerful mentorship relationships between young people and STEM professionals, helping kids gain confidence to explore the innovation process while they learn valuable science, engineering, technology, teamwork and problem-solving skills.
The KC STEM Alliance team manages competitions and coaching support for the Greater Kansas City region and beyond, reaching more than 4,000 students a year. Find out how you can power tomorrow’s future as a volunteer, sponsor or mentor by visiting us at