by LINDA FRABL | photos by Forever Photography by Liberty

Robotic Excellence

student_ganzer2Reed Ganzer is a 12-year-old seventh grader who lives in Sabre Springs and attends Meadowbrook Middle School. An aficionado of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) programs, Reed has found success with his forays into his school’s robotic teams. He began as a sixth grader by joining up with a FIRST Lego League (FLL) team, building and programming Lego robots with EV3 block programming. Now he is onto bigger and better robotic tasks, thanks to his involvement with the FIRST Tech Challenge team.

Reed elaborated, “The FIRST Tech Challenge team is for grades 7 through 12. My team, the Cerulean Centaurs, designs, builds, programs, and operates a robot to compete in an alliance against other robots. We use Java-based programming, gamepad controllers, and cell phones to control the robot. We get to design and build parts out of metal or with 3D printers.”

Name: Reed Ganzer (12)
School: Meadowbrook Middle School
Grade: 7
Parents: Stacy and Dean Ganzer
Favorite Local Spot: Señor Taquero!

student_ganzer1The Cerulean Centaurs recently won the Collins Aerospace Innovative Award, an honor bestowed to the team with the most innovative and creative robot design solutions. Reed commented, “The most rewarding part about robotics is when you are on the competition field and you get to see the robot working how it should. The most challenging part is that sometimes things don’t go as expected, but there is always something to learn.”

In addition to robotics, Reed also does taekwondo, enjoys drawing, and plays the baritone and the euphonium. His favorite subject at school is computer graphic arts, and Reed stated, “It provides a chance to learn and use technology combined with art, which are two things I like.” In the future Reed would like to one day become a mechanical engineer.

“The most rewarding part about robotics is when you are on the competition field and you get to see the robot working how it should.”


Always eager to promote robotics programs, Reed jumps in whenever he can to extol the virtues of FIRST team activities. “I make sure to volunteer and share my positive robotics experiences with parents and students whenever a robotics information meeting is held at a school,” he said. “I have also partnered with members from the Poway High Spyder robotics team to help mentor the younger FLL teams. I’ve logged over 58 hours of volunteering at community events and mentoring teams since last year, and I’m just getting started!”