FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a world-wide organization founded by Dean Kamen in 1992. FIRST was designed to encourage students to pursue S.T.E.M. related careers while instilling a sense of Gracious Professionalism. Gracious Professionalism is the mutual respect of oneself and others within the heat of competition. FIRST is built around four levels of robotics competition. Jr.FLL (grades K-3), FLL (4-8), FTC (7-12), and FRC (9-12) enable students of all ages to engage in FIRST.
The FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), which our team competes in, is the “varsity sport of the mind”. FRC students have six weeks to design, prototype and build fully functioning competition robots that can perform efficiently in a challenge based game. The robot must weigh no more than 120 pounds, have no larger than a 12V power supply, and adhere to several other design criteria to be considered legal for game-play. In addition to building a robot, teams must market and communicate themselves effectively to one another in order to develop resilient alliances.
Every year, FRC reaches over 78,000 students across 130 different competitions internationally. These students make up the nearly 3,100 teams that will compete for one of the 450 spots at each World Championship, in Houston, Texas and St. Louis, Missouri. To qualify for “Worlds”, a team must be one of the highest ranked robots in either a regional or district qualification system. Each Championship is divided up into six fields with 75 teams each. From each of these six fields, a winning alliance will emerge to compete in the Championship finals, called Festival of Champions.