One of my projects, Balloon Tower Princess Rescue made it to the show! I played the part of the squire for one of the ‘knights’ we invited from the audience.
It is a semester end tradition at the ETC to confer The Award of First Penguin upon the student project that set their own goals and standards high and pushed for something they knew to be dangerous and difficult to achieve.
In Randy Pausch’s own words from The Last Lecture:
In a virtual-reality course I taught, I encouraged students to attempt hard things and not worry about failing. At the end of the semester, I presented a stuffed penguin—“The First Penguin Award”—to the team that took the biggest gamble while not meeting its goals.
The award came from the idea that when penguins jump in water that might have predators, well, one of them’s got to be the first penguin. In essence, it was a prize for “glorious failure.”
Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you wanted. And it can be the most valuable thing you have to offer.
I was thrilled when my Round 2 project Fantasy Flight was awarded The Award of First Penguin for the Fall 2011 semester!