At first, “Gracious Professionalism” sounds weird — a bit New Age-y, somewhat soft.
Gracious Professionalism — according to the website of a non-profit founded to encourage American students in science and technology — is:
a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community….
Fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. They avoid treating anyone like losers. No chest thumping tough talk, but no sticky-sweet platitudes either. Knowledge, competition, and empathy are comfortably blended.
Rush Limbaugh would barf.
And what about “Coopertition”? The site explains:
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.
Coopertition involves learning from teammates. It is teaching teammates. It is learning from mentors. And it is managing and being managed. Coopertition means competing always, but assisting and enabling others when you can.
Rush would go into cardiac arrest.
But those are the principles of Lego League, which introduces students to real world engineering challenges by building Lego-based robots. And for a group of Coleytown Middle School students, they’re winning concepts.
Kate Comstock Davis tried to get a team going there last year. This fall a parent, Terry Sauer, formed a team in his basement. His rookie team competed against large public and private middle school teams, many of which had several teachers in charge.
“We couldn’t have found a better coach anywhere,” Davis says. “Terry lived up to the lofty ideals of Gracious Professionalism. The results speak for themselves.”
Team members Wells Bauman, Alex Davis, Ben Davis, Nathan Mosse, Lucas Nash, Luke Sauer and Peter Sauer developed a Bike Beacon. It uses Bluetooth technology to help solve transportation problems in the New York area.
In their 1st competition ever, the group placed 1st in the Project Research category at the Connecticut state championship earlier this month.
What a great accomplishment. Congratulations to the entire team, and the coach. You guys rock!
We are allowed to say that, right?