Plus, FIRST founder Dean Kamen shares a special message in celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week
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Introducing the FIRST® Educators Recognition Program

Teachers are a vital part of the FIRST® community and we're so appreciative of their time and dedication to making FIRST programs accessible to students all over the world.

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, we’re highlighting the invisible work teachers take on to help their students succeed and introducing the Inspire the Future: FIRST Educators Recognition Program, inspired by the outstanding work of educators in the FIRST community and the powerful ethos of “Teacher in Space” Christa McAuliffe – “I touch the future. I teach.” Read more on the Inspire blog and sign up to be notified when the recognition program launches.

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Shining light on the invisible work of teachers

Teachers have always played roles in their student’s lives that go way beyond “knowledge sharers,” but the invisible work of teachers – that breadth of work that happens outside the classroom and after the final school bell rings – has become even more challenging and all-consuming over the past year. Through FIRST Education Director Libby Simpson’s interview series with teachers, students, and parents from the FIRST community, we’re bringing to light the often-unseen work teachers take on to help their students succeed.

  • Inspiring mother-daughter duo Kavita and Angelica Whitney share their experiences as robotics teacher/team coach/parent and as a student/FIRST® Tech Challenge Team 15772 “Brady Goats” participant, during the COVID-19 pandemic and discuss how teachers shape the future.
  • After 30 years in education and more than a decade with FIRST, Sherry and Mitch Comer share the positive changes they’ve seen in their Camdenton, Missouri, education community and on Camdenton FIRST LASER 3284 teams and explore how the relationships and structure educators provided to students were an essential hidden element this year.
  • FIRST DoD STEM Teacher Ambassador and physics teacher Enrique Arce-Larreta shares how, even in a year full of uncertainty and change, he makes time to ensure that students are ready for the future of work through STEM activities.
  • School district STEM coordinator Annemarie Lampright shares challenges she and her colleagues overcame to support their students in rural Tennessee and the drive behind her commitment to bringing FIRST programs to her district through Amazon Future Engineer grant funding.
Thank you, teachers!

In a special Teacher Appreciation Week message, FIRST founder Dean Kamen celebrates all the outstanding educators who inspire countless students to pursue their dreams and shares his 30-year journey to recognize one special teacher, Christa McAuliffe.

Dean Kamen


A wonderful teacher gift

With her role in the “Teacher in Space” program, Christa McAuliffe set out to be a representative of all teachers and bring the important work educators do to inspire the future to greater light. The 2021 Christa McAuliffe Silver Dollar Coin, issued by the United States Mint, is a reflection of the incredible impact of teachers around the world who inspire the future every single day. Learn more about the coin.
OUR VISION: “ 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