The Rotary Club of Penticton Sunrise has chosen Branson Crawford, a Grade 12 student at Princess Margaret Secondary School, as their Student of the Month for April.
Crawford is born and raised in Penticton, and as a high school student, has thoroughly enjoyed his time at Maggie learning from the teaching staff.
“Their enthusiasm for each subject is infectious and they all go the extra mile to ensure that each student understands the material being taught, including freely offering remedial help after class, if needed,” Crawford said.
Robotics has become a cornerstone of Crawford’s life. In Grade 11, his computer science teacher Josh Walker, the coach of the Penticton Robotics Club, invited him to join this year’s team.
Crawford accepted and spent his summer learning Java programming as a prerequisite to serving as the club’s lead coder.
Together with his Maggie/Pen High team, Crawford attended the Pacific Regional FIRST robotics competition in Victoria this spring, building a robot that fit specific directions from the event organizers.
Crawford's robotics journey totalled around 500 hours, but he would not change a thing. To him, the experience illustrated how a strong, focused work ethic ultimately pays off.
Their three-team alliance placed sixth overall, against teams from as far away as Australia, Taiwan, and Hawaii.
“Filling the role as the lead coder for the robotics team surely ranks as my greatest achievement at Maggie,” Crawford said, adding, “Finally seeing a fully functional robot after long hours of hard work was mind boggling.”
His coaches and teachers do not hesitate to sing his praise.
“Branson could be a leader if he chose, but he is content following. Self-motivated, he spent many hours learning, writing and debugging code all alone. When I asked him for a coding solution, Branson would either deliver or explain why coding could not solve the problem or find another solution. Clearly, he played a vital role in our club’s success this year," Coach Walker said.
Maggie computer science teacher Brett Lantz was similarly impressed.
”Branson’s maturity, technical aptitude, and academic record are very impressive," Lantz said.
"Branson’s dedication to excellence, coupled with his devotion to service and teamwork, makes him an exemplary role model for all aspiring students."
Crawford is also an avid volleyball player, earning the respect of teammates and coaches alike on the court
And even with his extracurricular workload, Crawford has a 95 per cent average in the first semester of Grade 12, including a heavy load of university foundational courses in science and math.
In his off time, Crawford loves matching wits with friends in Maggie’s Chess Club. HIs ultimate triumph occurred when he finally beat a teacher. He also enjoys hiking with his mom, either along the KVR trail or at Giant’s Head.
Crawford has been accepted to the BSc in Computer Science program at UBC Okanagan. He then has plans to get some work experience, then obtain an MSc in Computer Science with a minor in French communications, all as part of a larger goal to work abroad and explore other cultures.
"In short, this young man surely possesses the core character traits—intelligence, self-discipline, grit and empathy—leading to pursuing a rich and rewarding career while inspiring and enriching the lives of those he encounters along the way," reads a news release from the Rotary.
-with files from Rotary Penticton