What is FIRST?
For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) is an international non-profit organization that was founded in 1989. Now, in 2019 FIRST teams impact over 570,000 students and support over 68,000 teams in over 100 countries. There are four programs associated with FIRST: FIRST Lego League, Jr. (FLL Jr.), FIRST Lego League (FLL), FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), and FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC).
These programs are for varying age levels starting from kindergarten all the way to 12th grade. All of the FIRST programs share their core values and ideals in common. In FIRST, students work together to build self confidence, communication, and leadership. FIRST is “More Than Robots”. FIRST participation is proven to encourage students to pursue education and careers in STEM-related fields, inspire them to become leaders and innovators, and enhance their 21st century work-life skills.
Further, there are two main values that are promoted in all the FIRST programs: Coopertition and Gracious Professionalism. Coopertition® produces innovation. At FIRST, Coopertition is displaying unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition. Coopertition is founded on the concept and a philosophy that teams can and should help and cooperate with each other even as they compete. Gracious Professionalism is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. In the long run, these values are part of pursuing a meaningful life.