FIRST contributes to a school being so good because it provides opportunities to explore and apply classroom skills to real-world problems and allows the students to innovate
MANCHESTER, N.H.--Half of the top 10 high schools featured in U.S. News & World Report's 2012 National Rankings of Best High Schools participate in FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989 to get kids excited about science and technology.
The FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®) combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams of high-school students are challenged to build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team.
"FIRST has driven my desire to go into the workforce," said Nathan Hughes, a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, and captain of FIRST Robotics Competition Team 3455. "Instead of sitting in the classroom, I'm working with my hands. Being on the FIRST team at Thomas Jefferson has helped me get acquainted with technologies and gather experience that I'm going to take with me into college and beyond."
According to U.S. News & World Report, data supporting the rankings are based on principles that a great high school must serve all of its students well, not just those who are college-bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show the school is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators.
"As a founder of one of these teams, I think FIRST contributes to a school being so good because it provides opportunities to explore and apply classroom skills to real-world problems and allows the students to innovate," said Mark Hannum, a longtime FIRST team mentor.
According to Brandeis University's Center for Youth and Communities, FIRST students are:
*More than three times as likely to major specifically in engineering;
*Roughly 10 times as likely to have had an apprenticeship, internship, or co-op job in their freshman year;
*Significantly more likely to expect to achieve a post graduate degree;
*More than twice as likely to expect to pursue a career in science and technology;
*Nearly four times as likely to expect to pursue a career specifically in engineering; and
*More than twice as likely to volunteer in their communities.
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from three out of every five Fortune 500 companies and nearly $15 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® ) and FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for high-school students, FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for 9 to 14-year-olds, (9 to 16-year-olds outside the U.S., Canada, and Mexico) and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) for 6 to 9-year-olds. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to www.usfirst.org.