Students on Team 1065 have a sense of belonging to a family. A family comprised of other students and mentors closely knit and held together by one individual; Roger Johnston. Mr. Johnston has been taking on the challenges of FIRST for a decade and he shows no signs of slowing down or stopping his FIRST career. The energy and passion that comes out of this individual is simply outstanding.
Prior to creating our team, Mr. Johnston was a co-founder along with Dan Welsh and Phu Nyguen, (engineers for Disney’s Ride and Show Department), together they established the initial team for what would later become The Disney-Alliance. While balancing a family, and a full time career as a teacher in the field of Mathematics and Pre-Engineering at Osceola High School (one of two schools involved with our team), he still found the time to dedicate a large part of his day to our team for the past five years.
Over the years Mr. Johnston has influenced not only team members but members of his own family to pursue degrees in engineering. Because of Mr. Johnston’s teachings, over fifty-percent of our current student build-up is currently planning to enroll in engineering at the college level.
The majority of students call him an “all-around” mentor. He is capable of assisting members in many areas of building the robot, from mechanical and electrical to pneumatics and programming and sometimes even in the spirit department. Whenever a question arises, Mr. Johnston is clearly the one that students rely on.
No matter what the student’s work ethic is he always tries to motivate them to do their best. For example, until recently our team spirit captain has been frightened to even go near a power tool, but because of Mr. Johnston’s efforts she has recently used a power saw, a hand drill, and a drill press.
Mr. Johnston is always spreading the word of FIRST to his students in hopes of gaining members. Whether they are in his geometry classes, or his Engineering Design and Development classes, he gives them all an equal opportunity to become involved in the robotics program.
A first year student on the team has been quoted as saying, “Mr. Johnston is a very smart individual, and he has been a tremendous support for our team. Without him we wouldn’t be where we are”, only after only attending a few meetings.
Mr. Johnston has created an opportunity that not many other teams will have the chance to experience. When we attend local FIRST events there is a feeling of being around old friends, this is because the majority of the teams attending have been started by someone who was once involved with creating or being apart of The Disney-Alliance.
In the unlikely event that the location where we hold our meetings is unavailable for us to meet, Mr. Johnston does not hesitate to offer up his classroom or in some occasions his own home. Mr. Johnston is a very dedicated individual who is willing to do whatever it takes to get the work done. He also keeps an extremely positive attitude about the rigorous challenge FIRST presents to the teams. Once a student asked him “We have only a week left and it doesn’t look like we’re going to complete the robot. What are we going to do?” he quickly responded with “We will finish, no matter what”
Mr. Johnston is the most inspiring individual involved on our team, without him our team would not be what it is today and we are truly grateful for his efforts.