They let me use the computer all day instead of going to class.

Scott’s post reminded me of a story that was critical to my computer education as well.

The year would have been 1986 and I was in 5th grade (same age as Scott!). We had moved from Southern California to New York City and I was attending PS 158. New York schools have improved tremendously since then and although we lived in a good neighborhood, the school was still not very good.

Towards the end of the semester I was missing school quite a bit. I was not learning at a pace that I could stay engaged and with around 33 kids per class and only one teacher, there was not a lot they could do for me.

One day my parents and I were called in to discuss the situation. I remember them taking it quite seriously, because I was bumping up against the limit to be considered delinquent and that would be a problem for everyone.

The school had just recently installed a computer lab and staffed it with a very young teacher who didn’t really know that much about them.

Details of the meeting are hazy, but someone suggested that I spend my school day in the lab rather than in the regular classroom. And that’s how I finished out the year.

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