rickumali (130) [Avatar] Offline
#1
I've decided to write a short blog-type post every week here on this forum. These posts are exclusive to this forum, and they will primarily be about the writing of the book. I first discussed dedications in Book Blog #21.

I attended high school at St. Peter's Prep, a Jesuit preparatory high school in Jersey City, New Jersey, during the early 1980s. That was an exciting time at the Prep (as it was affectionately known). They were piloting a computer science class, the first ever for the school, and its computer lab was expanding from a small room to a classroom-sized lab. I was there during all of this.

Fr. David Stump, SJ, helped lead all this change. He was a teacher who ran the computer lab with much humor and generosity. Before the computer science class was formalized, he formed the computer club, where students could sign up to use Apple-compatible computers. During our allotted time, we learned BASIC, using computer-based learning programs.

He took a sabbatical to learn computer science at a California school. I remember being struck by that: a teacher going back to school. When he returned, he helped formalize the computer science program. In his class, we learned Pascal, and I remember being grateful because that was the computer language for my freshman year in college.

Fr. Stump was the first teacher to introduce me to algorithms, and he valued clarity in our coding. He offered extra assignments for interested people, and often kept the lab open after school. I took advantage of this. Those assignments were similar to the problems you might find on Project Euler, and they helped stretch my thinking.

The summer after I graduated, I helped him on some data entry at a nearby college. We did this work on a punch card system, and the hours I worked there felt like a bridge from the past to the present. Fr. Stump started my formal learning of computers, a journey that I'm very grateful to still be on.

Thank You for reading!