CEF Student Interview with John Potz

Name: John Potz

School: Carlsbad High School

Tell us about yourself:
My name is John Potz and this year I am a high school senior at Carlsbad High School and captain of the CHS First Tech Challenge (FTC) Team 6226 Bambusa.

How did you first get involved in robotics, and when did you know that it was your passion?
Ever since elementary school, I’ve enjoyed science and math, so when Mrs. Lozar started the First Lego League (FLL) team at Kelly Elementary during my fifth grade year (Team Sonic) I eagerly joined. I had a blast on the team, and thoroughly enjoyed working on both the project and the robot game.

Starting my freshman year, I joined the then rookie Team 6226 Bambusa and have been with the team ever since. It was while participating with FTC that I really discovered my passion for robotics; I loved working on the robot and all the craziness that ensued. From coming up with crazy ideas and trying to make them work, like building an arm, to having the robot do things completely unexpected, like running over its own arm.

How has the CEF robotics program/ FLL/ FTC impacted you?
I am very grateful for the funding and support that CEF has provided to the FIRST programs in Carlsbad over the years; I am not sure that the schools would have been able to offer the programs without CEF’s support. Without my participation in FIRST I would be a completely different person. Not only are some of my closest friends those I’ve made through robotics, I’ve broadened my horizons in many ways. I have continued developing my skills in programming and have been introduced to the hardware aspect and also vastly improved my public speaking skills.

What is it like to be in an FTC captain?
This year, I am the captain of team Bambusa again, and while it is a greater responsibility and more work, I am enjoying the challenge. We are setting our sights high this year and hope to make it to worlds at St. Louis.

I also acted as head of outreach and was able to organize and participate in community outreach events at the Cole Library and the Learning Center. I also helped mentor the Valley and Jefferson FLL teams; I have always enjoyed working with the FLL teams, since it’s where I started robotics myself. One of the reasons I put so much effort into outreach, both the single day events and the ongoing mentoring, is that the robotics showcase at the Kelly Science Night brought me into the program.

What are your dreams and aspirations for after high school?
After high school, I hope to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and plan on majoring in Computer Science. I would like to continue my involvement with FIRST robotics in the future, possibly as a mentor or coach.