FIRST® stands for “For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.” FIRST is and non-profit organization founded by Dean Kamen in 1989. FIRST encourages "Gracious Professionalism®" a term coined by Dr. Woodie Flowers. "Gracious Professionalism®" is all about the attitude of FIRST. "Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. They avoid treating anyone like losers. No chest thumping tough talk, but no sticky-sweet platitudes either. Knowledge, competition, and empathy are comfortably blended" (FIRST® Website). "Coopertition®" is another word of great importance when talking about FIRST. "Coopertition®" is all about the attitude that is expected of participants at competition. Participants and mentors at competition are supposed to exhibit two aspects, teams are meant to be competitive and cooperative. Teams are promoted to be competitive but also display cooperation and help out other teams, ally or enemy. This is supposed to create a fun and enthusiastic environment. Keeping the competitions friendly and something for everyone to look forward to post build season.
FIRST® Robotics Competition is the league of FIRST that Team 5112 The Gongoliers are in. Commonly referred to as FRC, FIRST® Robotics Competition is for high school students who participate in competitions around the country in a yearly challenge selected by FIRST. " Under strict rules, limited resources, and an intense six-week time limit, teams of 20 or more students are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors." (FIRST® Website). FRC is a good way to help students prepare for real world engineering where they are entirely on their own. In this instance teams are helped by mentors which are there only to guide the team, the team is supposed to be run by students. Competitions are set up like a ladder, finish near the top in district, move to regional, then every teams' goal to make and do well at worlds. Each year the game played at competitions changes dramatically.