What is FIRST?
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is the leading STEM engagement program for kids, worldwide. Since 1989, FIRST has been designing robotics programs to allow kids to discover the excitement and rewards of science and technology. The opportunities to learn that programs, such as the FIRST Tech Challenge, present to students like us are expansive. They go well beyond learning mechanical engineering and computer science, to obtaining skills such as budget management and external presentation. Participation in FIRST can begin in kindergarten, working with Legos, until the end of high school, where teams of more than 30 people build complex robots using skills that will carry far into future industry.
What is the mission of FIRST?
FIRST aims to inspire youths to participate in engineering, encouraging a better field in the future. To achieve this goal, FIRST has 4 programs spanning many age groups, from kindergarten all the way to senior year of high school. By allowing students of all ages to participate in a robotics program, FIRST is enabling everyone, no matter their personal position, to experiment with engineering at an early age, and allowing those who enjoy the field to continue pursuing it. However, the availability of programs will not alone realize the mission of FIRST, and that is where teams and community outreach comes in. By encouraging teams to reach out and inform others of this program, the FIRST Inspires award gives even more reason for teams to help the program grow, and in this regard FIRST is able to achieve their goal and enable students of all ages to discover their passion for engineering.
Why do we participate in the FIRST Tech Challenge?
There are many reasons for participating in the FIRST Tech Challenge and each individual has a different one. We started competing in the FIRST Tech Challenge because it gave us a community with students like us who share common interests. This competition is more than just building robots. For us, FIRST means working together to solve problems and challenges. It means inspiring others to join STEM focused activities. It means building life-long connections with other members of our community and life-long communication skills. In the future, we hope to inspire and encourage teams that are just like us to keep on persevering even when success seems so far over the horizon.