Naming someone or something that is a challenge: to supply a name to a new baby, a new building, or a new product it takes a considerable amount of time, research and contemplation. One cannot ignore the impact of stated or implied identity that is communicated by the seemingly simple group of letters attached to people, concepts, structures or objects which are infinitely more complex than the name, itself, appears to be. “SigmaC@T” is significant in that each component of our name is significant by itself, and the whole name has substantially more meaning than the sum of its parts.
The “Sigma” comes from our corporate partner. Motorola Plantation, and stands for “Six Sigma”, an expression of engineering excellence and one goal of our efforts in the F.I.R.S.T. Competition. Our team’s "Quest for Perfection" in our operations and product is modeled after the constant quality assurance modeled for us by our corporate mentors.
“C@T” is symbolic of our partner school’s mascots (the black panther of Dillard High. In addition to this representation of our goal of school pride and school spirit, each symbol in “C@T” conveys meanings of its own.
The “C” is an expression of those key qualities we encourage: creativity and collaboration. The “@” symbol is representative of networks and networking, either the electronic communication tools we utilize to link distant partners or the human web of mutual support. The “T” stands for technology and TEAM, the focus of our training activities and the thread that joins us in our common goals.
SigmaC@T” More than a robot! More than a team! More than a name! We are a family!
The SigmaC@T organization was created in 1995 at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to compete in the annual FIRST Robotics Competition. As the first FRC team in Florida, SigmaC@T quickly became a nationally-recognized powerhouse. With extremely talented students, exceptional mentorship, and a solid corporate sponsorship, the team has always been an engine for success. twenty two years after emergence, the saga continues.
In 2001, several talented minds at J.P. Taravella High School joined the SigmaC@T family, forming a partnership that lasted over eight years. From this, some of the team's all-time greats have emerged from this school and have gone on to become apart of many great universities and companies. The partnership was initially intended to jump start a FRC program at a semi-local, non-magnet school that already had an established expansive extracurricular and athletics programs. The idea didn't gain substantial traction inside the school to prove itself viable in forming their own team. In 2008, the district budget was drastically reduced and the partnership could no longer thrive in such a state.
Currently in their nineteenth season, the team has competed in over forty-five FRC regular season and championship events, acquiring twenty-two awards throughout the process, including four-time Regional wins and Curie Division Winner at the World Championship event in 2005.
More than two hundred student members have progressed through the ranks of the team. Over ninety-five percent have gone on to colleges and universities. Some alumni have even returned as mentors.
In addition to building robots, during the off-season, the team continually focuses on fundraising efforts, community service projects, district events, and FIRST Lego League mentorships with local middle schools to raise awareness of such a great program, and provide community outreach and support.
FIRST's mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.
FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a multinational, non-profit organization that aspires to transform our culture, making science, math, engineering, and technology as cool for kids as sports are today. FIRST® was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway Personal Transporter, and on partnerships with businesses, educational institutions and government. Many Fortune 500 companies provide funding, in-kind donations and volunteers to support the program.
FIRST® offers robotics programs for students of all ages. The FIRST® Robotics Competition encourages kids ages 14-18, sponsored and assisted by local companies and volunteers, to design, assemble, and test a robot capable of performing a specified task in competition with other teams. FIRST® also offers programs for younger ages, such as the FIRST® Tech Challenge, the FIRST® LEGO® League, and the Junior FIRST® LEGO® League.
The key to FIRST‘s® success is the work of thousands of volunteer mentors, professional engineers, teachers, and other adults working with students across the country. In addition to the volunteers and team mentors, FIRST competitions and other events are organized and staffed by many event and committee volunteers. Through these volunteers, FIRST programs have engaged thousands of young people from around the world since the time the organization was founded.
Dr. Woodie Flowers, FIRST® National Adviser and Pappalardo Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, coined the term "Gracious Professionalism®."
Gracious Professionalism is part of the FIRST® culture. It's a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community.
With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete with enthusiasm, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. They avoid treating anyone like losers. No chest thumping tough talk, and no sticky-sweet platitudes either. Knowledge, competition, and empathy are comfortably blended.
Overall, Gracious Professionalism is part of pursuing a meaningful life. One can add to society and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing one has acted with integrity and sensitivity.
Coopertition or co-opetition is a neologism coined to describe cooperative competition. At FIRST, Cooperation is displaying unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition. Cooperation is founded on the concept and a philosophy that teams can and should help and cooperate with each other even as they compete.
Coopertition involves learning from teammates. It is teaching teammates. It is learning from Mentors. And it is managing and being managed. Cooperation means competing always, but assisting and enabling others when you can.