The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) program is celebrating its 22nd year of inspiring young people to become science and technology leaders through mentor-based competitions including the Junior FIRST LEGO League (ages 6-9), FIRST LEGO League (ages 9-16), FIRST Tech Challenge (high school), and FIRST Robotics Competition (high school). FIRST is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization devoted to helping young people discover a passion for science, engineering, technology, and math. Founded by inventor Dean Kamen, the FIRST programs culminate in an international robotics competition and celebration where teams win recognition, gain self-confidence, develop valuable life skills, and make new friends.
Since 2009, CTL and our 2go PC brand have proudly been a Gold-Level Sponsor of the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). Four years ago, CTL worked with FIRST to provide 2,000 of our 2go Classmate PCs for the FRC teams. Since then, we have supplied 2go PCs to all the new teams, and will be providing 200 CTL 2go PC E12V netbooks this year. In this program for high school students, teams of 25 students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” and use their teamwork skills to design and program a robot that will perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. Professional mentors volunteer their time and talents to guide each team.
The FRC has been dubbed the “The varsity Sport for the Mind,” because students work under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits. However the teamwork extends beyond the students’ own teams. FIRST holds the value of Gracious Professionalism®, meaning fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. In addition, FIRST promotes what they call ‘Coopertition’, which is displayed through kindness and respect in the face of competition. Coopertition involves learning from teammates, and sharing ideas with other teams. CTL’s 2goPC is also a sponsor of The Chief Delphi Forum, which was developed in the spirit of Coopertition so that FRC teams could discuss problems and solutions during their robot building process.
The benefits of the FIRST program are clear: students gain real world technological knowledge and experience, and many colleges and universities, professional associations and corporations offer college scholarships to high school students on FIRST teams. For 2012, over 153 scholarship providers have made 686 individual scholarship opportunities with a total value of nearly $15 Million available to FIRST teams. Companies such as Boeing and even NASA recruit from FIRST scholars.
CTL and 2goPC share the FIRST vision of innovation and forward-thinking technology. We’ve always been proud to collaborate with educators with our line of 2go Classmate PC products, and our partnership with FIRST is a natural alliance that’s in line with our company values. We’re looking forward to the 2012-2013 FRC season, which kicks off in January. Watch this CTL blog for more FIRST posts—we’ll keep you updated as the season progresses!