T.O.R.C. was formed in 2007 as the Oxford High School based competition team participating in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). Below is just a small summary of FIRST and the FRC program. For more information please see https://www.firstinspires.org.

What is FIRST (from https://www.firstinspires.org/about/vision-and-mission)

The vision of FIRST is "To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders." - Dean Kamen, Founder

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills. FIRST is More Than Robots. FIRST participation is proven to encourage students to pursue education and careers in STEM-related fields, inspire them to become leaders and innovators, and enhance their 21st century work-life skills.

The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, 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 Philosophies

Gracious Professionalism®

Gracious Professionalism is part of the ethos of FIRST. It's a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community.


Coopertition produces innovation. At FIRST, Coopertition is displaying unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition. Coopertition is founded on the concept and a philosophy that teams can and should help and cooperate with each other even as they compete.

FIRST Core Values

We express the FIRST philosophies of Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition through our Core Values:

  • Discovery: We explore new skills and ideas.
  • Innovation: We use creativity and persistence to solve problems.
  • Impact: We apply what we learn to improve our world.
  • Inclusion: We respect each other and embrace our differences.
  • Teamwork: We are stronger when we work together.
  • Fun: We enjoy and celebrate what we do!


What is the FIRST Robotics Competition (from: https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc/what-is-first-robotics-competition)

Combining the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. We call FIRST Robotics Competition the ultimate Sport for the Mind. High-school student participants call it “the hardest fun you’ll ever have.”

Under strict rules, limited resources, and an intense six-week time limit, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team. Each season ends with an exciting FIRST Championship.

Funding for the FIRST program comes from international agencies, state and local government, small businesses, and individual donations. This funding comes in many different forms such as monetary donations, mentorship, talent, and/or equipment.

FIRST touches on many different age groups by involving students in grades K – 12 . They are divided into the following programs:


FIRST® LEGO® League Jr.






FIRST® Robotics Competition


Captures young curiosity by exploring real-world scientific challenges, learning teamwork, and working with motorized LEGO® elements. Elementary and middle school-aged students research a real-world engineering challenge, develop a solution, and compete with LEGO-based robots of their own design. Teams of middle and high school-aged students are challenged to design, build, and program a robot to play a floor game against other teams’ creations. High school-aged teams compete head to head on a special playing field with robots they have designed, built, and programmed.
Grades K-4 Grades 4-8 Grades 7-12 Grades 9-12


What is FIRST® in Michigan (www.firstinmichigan.org)

T.O.R.C. participate in FIRST programs through Michigan's state level organization, FIRST in Michigan (FIM).

From www.firstinmichigan.org/FRC/about/:

The mission of FIRST in Michigan is to establish a sustainable FIRST Robotics Competition team at every high school in the state. In 2009, FIRST in Michigan created a new model targeted for growth and team retention. Dividing the state into 16 distinct geographic regions, this model lets teams play close to home giving the community as well as area government, businesses, and media easy access to local events.

Each Michigan high school team participating in the FIRST Robotics Competition attends two qualifiers, called district events. Utilizing a points system, teams earn points based on robot performance and judged awards. Teams are ranked, and a predetermined number of teams advance to a State Championship. This model has resulted in growth in every part of our state.

The main difference trough participation in FIM is the grade levels aligned to each of the FIRST programs:

  • FLLJr: Grades K-3, Early Elementary
  • FLL: Grades 4-5, Late Elementary
  • FTC: Grades 6-8, Middle School
  • FRC: Grades 9-12, High School

For more information about FIRST in Michigan please see www.firstinmichigan.org.


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