pic: A letter from U.S.FIRST to sponsors, before the initial year



Here is a very interesting letter. I am guessing that the date should actually read Jan. 7th, 1992 instead of 1991.

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If this letter does not settle all of the " Engineers Teams vs Student Teams " argument I don’t know what will. Its important to recognize the goals stated in this paper, “to create desire to learn within students.” Anything beyond this or away from this is just not FIRST and as long as this is accomplished then your heading the right direction.

Thanks for sharing Andy, this is a fun little FIRST historical nugget.

Thats a really cool paper, and if anyone wants to get into FIRST doctrine, [off topic] this would be to FIRST what the Monroe Doctrine is to American Foreign Policy.[/off topic]

But leads me to another question, how long has the Gracious Professionalism philosophy/practice been around in FIRST? FIRSTwiki cites the 2004 manual, but it has been around for much longer than that one would assume.

Woody talked about GP during his 1996 Kickoff presentation. I wasn’t around before that.

i don’t want to incorrectly state the year, but i remember listening to it first being introduced and thinking ‘wow. what a great idea’.

my memory tells me it was NJ regional way back when? definitely earlier than '04. 1996 may have been it. it sounds about right.

again, don’t quote me on it. i’m probably wrong. i just remember being much much younger when i heard about it.

Amen. The debate rests right there. Massive rep for resourceful one. GP has been “in the water” since the beginning and talked about throughout. Only recently will you find it documented in the manual.

Dan, I wouldn’t say that the letter actually solves the argument. Instead, I would say that the letter illustrates the founding mission of the program, “to shatter negative images that many children have regarding science and math.” Does it really matter how students become inspired through the program to go into fields of science and engineering, so long as this program inspires them to do so?
With engineering enrollment down, at least in the US, introducing students to engineering, math and science fields is more important then ever. As put so elegantly in that letter, “We are in a battle to change mindsets and win over young minds.” To that purpose, shouldn’t our goal be to do so to the best of our abilities, instead of arguing which teams, or for that matter which type of teams more effectively can accomplish that? It would be a huge mistake to lose track of that goal in the arguments of ‘what type of team is more effective’, or ‘what does gracious professionalism mean’.
In the end, I believe that the heart of all teams’ goal is to inspire the students who work with them, to dispell the myths surrounding math and science based fields, and to encourage them to pursue their dreams. These dreams dont necessarily have to be in engineering or science for a mentor to have accomplished their goal. If a student has gained inspiration and knowledge from the experience, even if the student doesnt end up in engineering, the mentor has at least succeeded in inspiring the student.