Parker Driscoll: A Student Who Strives For Excelence

Parker Driscoll and Emilee Newton standing next to the World Series Trophy

Sophia Tsai

Parker Driscoll and Emilee Newton standing next to the World Series Trophy

Jozlyn Jorgenson, Co-Editor In Chief

When students came to school on Monday December 13th, they probably were not expecting to see a junior walking through the halls wearing a christmas sweater while wrapped in tinsel and covered with ornaments. When it comes to giving his all, Parker Driscoll is not one to shy away, even if it is just for an ugly sweater contest in orchestra class.

“He’s a funny guy… I would say [he does] the most unusual stuff ever.” Darren Lee says. He and Driscoll have been friends since their seventh grade year. According to Lee, “He is somebody that could make you feel like you belong somewhere.” In fact, that is how the two met, “I was basically the new kid,” Lee says, “I was just placed next to him, and then from there we just kind of talked”

 

Parker competiting in the orchestra ugly sweater contest (Jozlyn Jorgenson)

 

The two met in orchestra class, which is one of Driscoll’s main interests. “I started in sixth grade like most people do,” Driscoll says. While it did not start off as something he was overly interested in, it grew to become one of his passions, “I didn’t really pay attention in sixth grade. I was like, ‘this is kinda eh.’” Now he not only loves it, but he also volunteers to help middle schoolers learn, “I help younger middle school students on Wednesdays… I like to help our violin section… I really like what I have with the current orchestra.   

 

But orchestra and violin are not the only interests Driscoll has. He is also heavily involved in robotics. His interest in robotics started in elementary school. In fourth grade he participated in Lego Mindstorm. He would use Legos to make a robot, then create a program to have the robot do different actions. But, once he was in fifth grade he joined a VEX Robotics team, which really ignited his interests. “In fifth grade [I did] VEX robotics, and I thought it was Mindstorm… and ever since then… the rest is history.” He says.

 

Over time Driscoll learned more and more about robotics, and has become very good at it. Lee has gotten to see that firsthand. In their freshman year both were in robotics, “I didn’t really know much about it, but he was, particularly, the all knowing person.” 

 

 

2020 State Robotics Tournament (Rich VanGilder)

 

 

Because of all the work Driscoll has put into robotics, his team has been to the World Championships for robotics twice. Teams from all over the world came together for this championship, “Egypt, Turkey, China, Japan… just about any country [comes].” Driscoll says. 

 

In the championship there are two different challenges. One where teams are paired up and are required to work together, and another where it’s one team against another. Driscoll’s team finished second in the teamwork challenge, and got third in the individual competition. 

 

According to Driscoll, “[The] first year was spent meeting teams, seeing all these people, experiencing this new thing,” But for the second year, Driscoll says they had a different mindset, “The second year it was like, ‘we need to be competitive. We have a really good robot.’” He says that there was, “more drive for competition.” Even through his competitive nature, Driscoll manages to stay friendly and kind. “I got to see how Parker played. I saw his cooperation skills with teammates, and saw how he worked well with others,” Lee recalls.   

 

Along with the triumphs Driscoll also experienced some low points. His first team, from middle school, had a falling out. “When you’re in middle school you don’t really know how to overcome issues. Disagreements weren’t resolved the way they should have been.” Driscoll says that it is like, “Even if you’re both working to build a clock, you might have two different ideas…and with six people, you might have six different ideas.”

 

But Driscoll did not let this experience keep him from growing. Having learned from this experience, Driscoll and his new team are working out ways to stay strong, “We’ve actually had a guy quit [from this current team]. But, we have found much better ways to resolve it now. Like the design process.”   

 

More recently, however, Driscoll and his team are facing some challenging competition. “Winning states in Colorado right now is super hard.” Driscoll says, “We have a top 10 team in the world right now, right out of Longmont.” 

 

Despite the competitive nature of robotics, both teams are on friendly terms, “One of the things about the Colorado community is that we’re all really close. We text each other. We’re friends with that really good team.”

 

Driscoll is a person who helps create a friendly atmosphere wherever he goes, and who will overcome adversity all while learning and growing. Lee says that, “If you’re at a place where you feel very upset, he will always be there just to cheer you up.” Wherever life takes Driscoll, just like at Erie, he is sure to excel and make friends along the way. 

 

 

Parker at a football game with Darren Lee and Melinda Mien