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FIRST: For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. FIRST robotics is a program that helps kids from elementary through high school levels explore the unending world of science and technology. The founder of FIRST, Dean Kaman, wanted students to have a better chance of succeeding in life by creating a program that lets students test the waters of robotics. FIRST is a growing organization that has recently hit a global level.
Dean Kaman is the founder of FIRST. But, this is merely the tip of the iceberg. "As an inventor, physicist, and entrepreneur, Dean has dedicated his life to developing technologies that help people lead better lives." (www.usfirst.org) Just a few of the things he's invented are a portable dialysis machine, HomeChoice®, Independence®, IBOT® 4000 Mobility System. Dean is probably best known for the Segway® (It). Dean sets an example for all aspiring students.
Late into the night students, teachers, and mentors huddle around a box of aluminum. For six weeks this group of people will craft that aluminum frame into a self-thinking machine. This machine has captivated the hearts of many. A few of those mentors are team members, returned for their seventh year. FIRST robotics steals the hearts of those involved. These college mentors drive for hours, just to give the students a chance to experience the thrills of science and technology. But, these mentors are not there to build the machine. They are their to guide the construction of the machine, offering words of wisdom. They will of course step in if the part is to complex for students to handle. It is only through this team effort that the robot can be built.
On every team there are many sub teams. There is a business team, who gather sponsors to fund parts expenses. Also, there is a CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) team, and an animation team. There is a design team and obviously a build team. Each of these teams plays a major part in ensuring progress. One other team, that shows what FIRST is truly about, has an importance that rivals that of the build team. This team goes after the most prestigious award in FIRST -- The Chairman's Award. This award is considered a higher honor than every other award, including a winning robot.
The Chairman's Award is given to the team that shares the goals of FIRST with others. The team must find new and creative ways to show mentorship in the community, whether the community is local or global. This team must also be a key displayer of "Gracious Professionalism." FIRST describes it as, "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." (www.usfirst.org). This team, must uphold all the goals of FIRST.
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