Marcus Bernstein ‘18, a multi-talented junior, is coming off a great sophomore year. Last year, he played a key role in the success of the Milken Knights Robotics Team, earned All-League honors as an outfielder for the Wildcats’ baseball team, and took home the first prize at the Milken Shark Tank event for his business, “Bud’s Body Boards.” Yet, Marcus still thinks he can improve on his fantastic sophomore year. Assigned the role of captain for the robotics team, Marcus is taking the year off from baseball and is gearing up to lead the Knights to a prosperous season. The Roar sat down with him to discuss his previous achievements and experiences, as well as his goals for the upcoming year.
Last year, the seniors on the robotics team played a key role in the success of the team. Do you think that despite the loss of those important members, this year’s team can improve upon the previous year’s accomplishments?
At the end of last year, we did lose a lot of really key members of our team, but that isn’t too much of a problem because of the way we run our team. We already have 92 members on our team and we aren’t even three weeks into the school year, which I think shows that our team is really ready to improve and evolve.
You mentioned the large size of this year’s team. As the student captain, what do you think will be the biggest challenge for you with such a large group to lead?
Remembering everyone’s names… (laughs)… But on a more serious note, I think the biggest challenge of leading 92 kids, especially as the team gets larger, is just gonna be managing everything that comes my way. I want to make sure that they are all staying on task and make sure that if there is something for them to do, I tell them to do it. In robotics, there is so much to do and people can do so many different things. As the robotics build season gets closer, we plan on implementing new leadership structures so that more students can get involved in leading and running different parts of the team.
You are an inventor, an All-League athlete, and a robotics maestro. When did you start working on each craft?
Well, baseball I’ve played almost all my life, or at least for as long as I can remember. I started working on robotics in 4th grade and I was actually introduced to it by Milken alum and last year’s Knights’ captain, Austin Shalit ‘16. I stuck with it all the way through elementary school, and when I was touring Milken, Austin gave me the chance to drive the robot that was built at Milken in 2012. The robot shot basketballs into a real basketball hoop, and I thought that was really cool because I’m a really sporty guy. Robotics has been a huge part of my life ever since.
My Shark Tank project started a couple of months into last school year. It began as part of an engineering class project where we were making boogie boards. Soon thereafter, I continued to develop the technology and improve upon it to the point where it was ready to be an actual product. I wasn’t really aware that Milken had a Shark Tank event until I was approached by Ms. Schecter, Dr. Beachy, and a few other faculty members involved. I think that the teachers and students and everybody who encouraged me ended up inspiring me to enter the contest. I’m really glad I entered, not only because I ended up winning, but because it was a positive learning experience.
Following a stellar season playing baseball, you were offered the role of captain for the robotics team, and in accepting the position, you have to sit out the following baseball season. What do you think the hardest part of not playing baseball this year will be?
It’s upsetting. It’s really upsetting not getting to play because of robotics and a handful of other important commitments. It is still upsetting having to give something up, but I think what I’m gonna miss about baseball is the people. I really do love the fact that we had fun regardless of whether we did as well as we wanted or not, and I think I’m really going to miss the community that is built by that group of guys. I think I’m gonna miss that community more than the actual sport of baseball, as much as I do love it.
Lastly you are through two successful years of high school, and you are prepared to have a successful third year. If you had to give one piece of advice to a freshman, what would it be?
Find what you love and do it. Milken has so many amazing opportunities for students with the Architecture + Design Institute, the new Guerin Institute, the amazing sports programs we have; there are so many different opportunities for kids to pick what they want to pursue and just shine at it. It’s really important to remember that it doesn’t matter what it is — just pick what you want to do, be passionate about it, and you’ll be successful.