Hardly a FIRST competition goes by without someone mentioning how FIRST enables culture change, how a student in the audience will win a Nobel Prize, and how FIRST is creating the next generation of STEM professionals. While all of this is true, I believe we rarely discuss the real reason FIRST will change the world and the lasting legacy it will leave.
I believe this impact comes from students from around the world connecting and learning that people are people no matter where they were born.
Imagine a world where...
...a deaf all-girls team from Egypt receives the largest applause in a silent room.
...a world-champion team from America picks a reform school team from China to join their alliance.
...a coeducational team from Alaska exchanges care packages with an all-boys team from Saudi Arabia who they met once at competition.
...where students from 2 countries join together to form a single team.
...mentors travel around the world to help rookie teams internationally.
Our grandparent’s, and even our parent’s, generation would say these are impossibilities. Yet, I’ve seen each of these happen at FIRST events.
Perhaps someday some of those students will reconnect when they are leaders of nations and multinational companies. And then, they will remember what they learned through FIRST; that people are people no matter where they were born. When that happens, the world we live in will be a better, safer place.
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