Elevating Robotics to a Recognized Interscholastic Activity
Imagine a varsity sport focused on student teams building a robot that can throw a football. Three states – Connecticut, Minnesota, and Texas – have sanctioned programs in their schools to establish robotics as a varsity sport. In fact, dozens of schools around the country have received approval from their school districts to create a modified varsity letter program. However, while full benefits of a varsity program – including a state championship event – cannot happen until a state program is formally approved, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is working with school districts and statewide districts to help formalize varsity programs for robotics teams.
What is the significance of interscholastic activities?
- Demonstrates that it’s a privilege and an honor to represent one's school;
- Encourages young people to enrich their educational experience; and
- Offers leadership experiences that prepare students for a successful future.
Why is earning a varsity letter important?
- Raises the respect and recognition of students engaged in any program that has met state criteria;
- Recalls cherished memories of experiences with Coaches, Mentors and Teachers who trained and developed student ability and skill; and
- Represents each individual event, specific opponent and the strategic moments of glory in every contest in which students took part.
What is the value of such recognition to FIRST teams at their school/in their state?
- Represents significant student contributions over-and-above those expected;
- Validates robotics as an official high school sport;
- Confirms school support and advances inclusion in popular traditions for celebrating student athletes (pep rallies, trophy inclusion in school hall of fame, etc…);
- Promotes FIRST as a great option to others seeking extra-curricular activities; and
- Demonstrates that FIRST standards and expectations match, if not exceed, those of comparable high school activities.