Marcus Francisco is a Grade 12 student at Princess Margaret Secondary School and the Rotary Student of the Month for January. (Submitted)

Penticton Rotary Student of the Month a young ‘Iron Man’

Marcus Francisco is a Grade 12 student at Princess Margaret

The Rotary Student of the Month for January is the talented and altruistic Marcus Francisco.

Francisco, a Grade 12 student and Princess Margaret Secondary School, was selected by the Rotary Club of Penticton Sunrise for his leadership and achievements in academics, music and robotics.

His school work was the foremost part of his recognition, with his Grade 11 year ending with an average grade of 96 per cent, the top mark in both chem 11 and physics 11. To start his final year he has kept up with a 94 per cent in the first semester of grade 12.

Francisco’s pursuit of excellence extends to music, as the lead trumpet in both Maggie’s concert and jazz bands. Francisco is also learning the saxophone and at home, he plays the piano and loves to sing with his friends.

A member of the Penticton Robotics Club since it was formed in Grade 9, he has been passionate about the field since his first gift of a kit for Christmas at age seven.

“I instantly became hooked, assembling and dismantling it many times until it finally broke,” said Francisco.

He built a fully functional Iron Man helmet over three months, which required learning how to program code, run microcontrollers, weld and apply his technically demanding 3D modelling skills in CAD (Computer Aided Design).

Robotics club teacher Joshua Walker Walker still recalls Francisco’s innovation and hardwork that helped the club take the Top Rookie Team title at the Pacific Regional FIRST robotics competition in 2020.

”While only in Grade 9, Marcus’ intrinsic motivation to learn, problem-solving proficiency and hard work quickly catapulted him into a leadership role. For example, he taught himself pneumatics, enabling us to use pistons on our industrial-sized robot which was surely a major part of our success.”

READ MORE: Penticton robotics students look for community support to stay competitive

The robotics club, with Francisco leading the way with his vast experience and well-honed skills, is now busy gearing up for this year’s regional competition in Victoria, with the goal of reaching the podium again and punching a ticket to the World Championships in Houston, TX in April.

Behind the scenes Francisco is Maggie’s tech crew lead, where he puts his technical skill set and work ethic to use in overseeing the intricate audio/visual set-up required for school dances, band concerts and theatre performances. He has also helped organize the 10,000 Tonight and Maggie Haunted House fundraisers. This extensive body of vital background work has garnered him the top service award for the past three years.

Given his burning desire to design and build things, it is fitting that upon graduation, Francisco plans to pursue studies in either mechanical or mechatronic engineering — the field of computer-controlled electromechanical systems — at either Waterloo, UVic or UBC Okanagan.

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The Student of the Month is a Rotary Club of Penticton Sunrise project in partnership with local secondary schools. The award aims to recognize outstanding students for unique achievement in scholastic, extracurricular activities, community involvement, leadership, and service to others. The Rotary Club recognizes Penticton Secondary School and Princess Margaret Secondary School as project partners and Cascades Casino Penticton for their financial aid.

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