What is FIRST?
FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) is an international high school robotics competition. Each year, teams of high school students, coaches, and mentors work during a six-week period to build robots capable of competing in that year's game that weigh up to 125 pounds (57 kg). Robots complete tasks such as scoring balls into goals, placing inner tubes onto racks, hanging on bars, and balancing robots on balance beams. The game, along with the required set of tasks, changes annually. While teams are given a kit of standard set of parts during the annual Kickoff, they are also allowed and encouraged to buy or fabricate specialized parts. FIRST Robotics Competition is one of four robotics competition programs organized by FIRST, the other three being FIRST LEGO League Explore, FIRST LEGO League Challenge, and FIRST Tech Challenge.
The culture of FIRST Robotics Competition is built around two values. "Gracious Professionalism" embraces the competition inherent in the program, but rejects trash talk and chest-thumping, instead embracing empathy and respect for other teams. "Coopertition" emphasizes that teams can cooperate and compete at the same time. The goal of the program is to inspire students to be science and technology leaders.
2022 was the 31st year of the competition. 3,225 teams, including more than 80,000 students and 25,000 mentors from 26 countries, built robots. The 2022 season included 58 Regional Competitions, 90 District Qualifying Competitions, and 11 District Championships. In 2022, over 450 teams won slots to attend the FIRST Championship event, where they competed in a tournament. In addition to on-field competition, teams and team members competed for awards recognizing entrepreneurship, creativity, engineering, industrial design, safety, controls, media, quality, and exemplifying the core values of the program. As a result of COVID-19, the amount of active teams decreased during the 2021 season; however, numbers began to increase during the 2022 season.