FIRST after high school

Aug 17, 2017 Written by FIRST President, Don Bossi

Last month FIRST had the pleasure of welcoming fantastic teams from around the world to Manchester, New Hampshire, for the FIRST Festival of Champions.  Watching so many bright young minds compete in the very city where FIRST began reminded me of just how far we've come.  We started in 1992 with only one event held in a local high school gymnasium; this past season nearly half a million students participated in over 2,700 FIRST events in more than 70 countries.

Here at FIRST headquarters, one of the most rewarding parts of our job is hearing stories from FIRST participants, mentors, and alumni about their time spent participating in and supporting FIRST programs.  By reaching young minds from ages 6 through 18, FIRST programs have inspired millions of future leaders and innovators.  Although our programs have grown tremendously over the last 25 years, much work remains.  Currently, only 10 percent of all K-12 schools in the United States have a FIRST program, and that percentage is even lower in other countries.  As a mission-driven organization, our efforts are focused on ensuring that every young person, especially those from less-advantaged backgrounds, has access to the life-changing impact of FIRST programs.  

We’re often asked about the possibility of a FIRST program at the college level.  At this time, we remain focused on reaching K-12 students.  Our alumni were fortunate to have been part of a school or community with FIRST programs, but many other young people do not have access to any STEM programs.  Hence, we're looking to you – our FIRST alumni in college and beyond – for energy and support in helping us reach more schools and communities.

As FIRST alumni, you understand the impact of these programs better than anyone else, and we’re asking for your help to advance our mission across the globe.  Every FIRST program can benefit from your skill, knowledge, and passion.  Volunteer at an event near you, share your time with a local team in need, become a donor, and always remember to #MakeItLoud.  Thank you all for your support of our programs, and I look forward to many more FIRST seasons together.

Best regards,


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