South High Junior Wins Prestigious FIRST Robotics Award



Dean’s List Award winner Shaan Merchant (center) congratulated by team.
(Contributed photos)

South High School junior Shaan Merchant has been named a winner of the FIRST Robotics Dean’s List Award, one of the highest awards presented to an individual student through the international FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). Shaan was nominated for this prestigious award through his work with South High FIRST Robotics Team #2638, known as “Rebel Robotics.”

The Dean’s List Award is presented annually to ten exceptional high school students from around the world who have made significant contributions to their FRC team and community. The award was presented by FIRST founder Dean Kamen and CEO of FIRST, Chris Moore, during a special award ceremony at the 2023 FIRST Robotics World Championship in Houston. Shaan was present at the World Championships along with his teammates from Rebel Robotics, as the team qualified for the World Championships during a regional competition earlier in the season.

“The mentors and teammates of Shaan are so proud of his accomplishments with Rebel Robotics,” said John Motchkavitz, lead mentor for Team #2638. “His hard work and dedication is an inspiration to all involved with our program.”

Shaan was first nominated as a candidate for this award by his Rebel Robotics teammates. In March, he was announced as a regional Dean’s List Award Finalist at the SBPLI competition at Hofstra University. Shaan was then selected by a panel of judges as one of ten Dean’s List Award winners worldwide based on his leadership skills, technical expertise, and commitment to promoting STEM education.

Dean’s List Award winner Shaan Merchant (center) is congratulated by Dean Kamen, FIRST founder (left) and Chris Moore, FIRST CEO (right) during a special award ceremony at the 2023 FIRST Robotics World Championship in Houston.

“I am incredibly grateful to receive this award,” said Shaan Merchant. “I could not have achieved this without the guidance and support of my mentors, Mr. Motchkavitz, Mr. Corrigan, Squeegee, Ms. Dressner, Ms. Fleishman, and Mr. Donlon, my fellow 2638 team members, my community, and my family.”

Shaan’s recognition as a Dean’s List Award winner is the latest achievement in a very successful competition season for the South High Robotics Team. The team participated in two regional competitions this spring and earned two Excellence in Engineering Awards, one Engineering Inspiration Award, several individual awards, and a trip to the FIRST World Championships with their entrance fee paid for by NASA.


Faculty advisors for Rebel Robotics Team #2638 are John Motchkavitz, South High business/technology department chair, and Matthew Corrigan, business/technology teacher.
—Submitted by the
Great Neck Public Schools District

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