FIRST®, the FIRST® logo, FIRST® Robotics Competition, FRC®, Coopertition®, and Gracious Professionalism® are registered trademarks, and Sport for the Mind™ are common law trademarks of the United States Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST®). ©2013 FIRST. All rights reserved.
The FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) pairs high school students with adult mentors (primarily engineers and teachers) to design and build robots that compete against one another in this high energy “Varsity Sport for the Mind™”. Each year at the Kickoff in January, a new, challenging game is introduced. These exciting competitions combine the practical application of science and technology with the fun, intense energy and excitement of a championship-sporting event. Teams are encouraged to display Gracious Professionalism® and to cooperate while competing – known as Coopertition™.
Dr. Woodie Flowers, FIRST National Advisor and co-founder of FRC, elaborates on the significance of Gracious Professionalism in FIRST:
“FIRST celebrates high-quality, well-informed work done in a manner that leaves everyone feeling valued. Gracious Professionalism seems to be a good descriptor for a big part of the ethos of FIRST. It is one of the things that makes FIRST different and wonderful.
Gracious attitudes and behaviors are win-win. Gracious folks respect others and let that respect show in their actions. Professionals possess special knowledge and are trusted by society to use that knowledge responsibly. Thus, gracious professionals make a valued contribution in a manner pleasing to others and to themselves.
In FIRST, Gracious Professionalism means that we learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. We try to avoid leaving anyone feeling like they have lost. No chest-thumping barbarian tough talk, but no sticky sweet platitudes either. Knowledge, pride and empathy comfortably blended.”
FIRST values and acknowledges team performance, both on field and off, that promotes our mission to change culture. The three (3) most prominent FRC awards that celebrate our culture are described below.
Every year, veteran FRC Teams have the opportunity to compete for FIRST’s most prestigious award; i.e., the Chairman’s Award, which represents the spirit of FIRST. This award was created to maintain FIRST’s focus on changing culture in ways that would inspire greater levels of respect and honor for science and technology, as well as encourage more of today’s youth to become scientists, engineers and technologists. The Chairman’s Award honors the team that best embodies the goals and purpose of FIRST and is a model for other teams to emulate.
The Woodie Flowers Award, founded in 1996 by Dr. William Murphy, celebrates outstanding mentors who lead, inspire and empower their team. Woodie Flowers Award winners demonstrate effective communication in the art and science of engineering and design.
Now in its fourth year, this award celebrates outstanding student leaders whose passion for, and effectiveness at, attaining FIRST ideals is exemplary. Finalists are chosen by a panel of judges at each FRC regional, The Mid-Atlantic Robotics (MAR) FRC Region Championship and the Michigan FRC State Championship. From this pool of finalists, the Dean’s List Award Committee will select 10 Winners at the Championship in St. Louis, MO.
Safety is critical within FIRST and must be observed continuously by all participants. As a part of the “Safety Awareness and Recognition Program”, teams are observed and evaluated at many levels and by many individuals at the events and the Championship.