Monday, March 12, 2012

FIRST Robotics, First in Giving Back

It’s a no-brainer for us here at IIS to get involved with the FIRST Robotics Competition each year. Besides the promising future shown by students working day and night on their competition robots, the FIRST organization itself is a shining example of generosity, community involvement, and improving young lives. When we say FIRST gives back, we aren’t referring only to the over $14 million in scholarships that they’ve awarded so far. The values strengthened by participation in the FRC, aside from any financial considerations, are themselves priceless.

Any FIRST participant is familiar with the mantra of Gracious Professionalism. More than any competition, more than winning, Gracious Professionalism is the overriding theme present at every FIRST event. So what is it? It’s the idea that all FIRST participants are a team before they’re competitors. Gracious Professionalism fosters a high enough respect of one another to compete fiercely, but to lend a hand if, say, another team comes up short a few ball bearings on competition day. Most of all, it’s the notion that all competitors are working toward a common goal of excellence, and that while there may be winners and losers on the court, each and every person there contributed in some way to the intellectual and personal growth of the others.

So just by running the competition, FIRST is giving back to the students. It’s giving them the opportunity to work on something outside of their daily cycle of school, sports, homework, and TV. There are few ways to have more fun while also learning invaluable skills – both mechanical, and interpersonal. FIRST’s Lego League and Tech Challenge ensure that as many students as possible – across all ages and talents – have an opportunity to participate in this unique competition. We’re happy just to do our part.

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