Teacher Appreciation Week 2024: Mo Elhelw

Teacher Appreciation Week 2024: Mo Elhelw

May 10th 2024

Our final Teacher Appreciation Week honoree for 2024 is Mr. Mo Elhelw (Mr. E), from West Newbury, Massachusetts! Mr. E mentors rookie FRC Team #9443: Aluminum Panthers.

How has your nominee promoted STEM within their community?

Mr. E is the only robotics and engineering teacher in our school, and he has implemented the FIRST curriculum to set students on a path towards careers in STEM. When he became a teacher at Pentucket Regional Middle High School, he revamped our Engineering Design course. Originally, this was a class that primarily worked with hot glue, popsicle sticks, and online research, but he created an experience that involves additive manufacturing techniques, CAD, and the engineering design process. 

He works with other teachers in our science department to ensure that each student receives a diverse STEM experience throughout their middle and high school education. He assisted our school’s physics teacher, who runs the science league, to manufacture and design rubber band power cars and catapults. His guidance on technical components and the manufacturing assistance provided allowed students to better understand various aspects of STEM. During the FRC preseason, he instructed our team on how to build swerve and tank drive drivetrains, which he now uses to teach engineering concepts in his classes, making STEM an engaging and exciting topic. 

During his time on FRC 9443, Mr. E has built connections with us and inspired us to pursue STEM careers of our own. He is building a pipeline between students and sponsors, giving us an opportunity to engage in STEM careers through the formation of a Massachusetts Skills Innovative Career Pathway program that he is developing with our Assistant Superintendent. This pathway will empower students to acquire extra certifications and designations that will help us attain higher education and careers in STEM fields. Our FRC team lead by Mr. E is the centerpiece of this pathway, connecting students with our sponsors who enhance classroom learning and provide internships. Our sponsors have offered paid internship opportunities for 3 students so far!

How has your nominee promoted FIRST within their community?

Mr. E assisted Mr. Conway in the creation of our FRC team by becoming our lead mentor. As rookies in the 2024 season, our team was small, but with Mr. E’s guidance we were able to earn both Rookie All Star and Rookie Inspiration Awards. In order to draw more attention to our FRC team, he worked alongside our student leaders to organize demos throughout the school using our preseason robots, such as at our club and activities fair, back to school night, and 5 classroom demos. In addition, Mr. E assists us in organizing outreach opportunities for our team. He has a passion for giving back to the community which helped our team grow, with efforts such as volunteering at the New Hampshire FLL State Championship, volunteering at a local food bank, running a blood drive, and cleaning up a local park. 

Due to his experience as an FLL alumnus, Mr. E has always been inspired to make FIRST accessible to younger students. He has carried this passion to Pentucket, where he applied for and received grants to start one FTC team and a district-wide FLL team for our elementary and middle schoolers next year. He wants to ensure that every student in Pentucket has an opportunity to experience FIRST, and plans to expand the FLL program to include teams in all of our elementary schools. 

To help FIRST be sustainable in Pentucket, Mr. E has recruited multiple sponsors to support the various FIRST programs. He has also formed a Caregivers Committee who help to organize our FRC season and coordinate events, such as our end of the year celebration picnic! His efforts to expand FIRST expand beyond just our team, as he forms connections with local STEM programs and other FIRST teams to assist with technical advice and manufacturing capabilities. This has involved partnering with Code & Circuit, a local STEM education program, to repair previous FRC robots and help transition them into FTC, as well as using our CNC to cut parts for fellow FRC teams. 

What else would you like us to know about your nominee?

Mr. E discovered our team through our assistant superintendent, Mr. Conway, who was looking for someone to teach the robotics classes. Our school had a new robotics shop meant for an FRC team, but needed someone passionate about improving STEM education and knowledgeable in FIRST. This meant Mr. E was the perfect fit. He was an FLL alum and an alum of FRC1511 when he was a high school student, leading FRC1511 to earn 2 Chairman’s Awards. His FIRST journey continued as a mentor on FRC4930 while balancing a full time job as a banker and attending evening classes to earn his MBA. Upon hearing about Pentucket’s need for an engineering and robotics teacher, and their soon to be rookie FRC team, he moved to Massachusetts to accept the position, making the career jump from banking to teaching. Mr. E has always had a passion for FIRST and STEM education, and he spreads that passion to us every day by encouraging us to learn, discover, and innovate both on our FRC team and in our education.

Thanks for Arianna R. for nominating Mr. Elhelw and sharing his story with REV!