An appreciative reminiscence . . .

It Should Begin in High School

by Conrad Weisert
©2015 Information Disciplines, Inc., Chicago
December 12, 2015

NOTE: This document may be circulated or quoted from freely, as long as the copyright notice is included.

A little note that I sent to family and close friends for the Thanksgiving holiday last month elicited some requests to make it available on this web site. Here's the relevant section:

I'm grateful for the opportunity to become reasonably well educated, starting with two outstanding high-schools with some great teachers (now deceased) who instilled in me an appreciation of learning as well as their own subject matter:

  1. Senn High School in Chicago (9th & 10th grades, public, ~4000 students)
    • Helen Reed, my Latin teacher
    • Florence Hackman, my Geometry teacher

  2. American Community School of Paris (12th grade, private, 21 seniors)
    • Douglas McKee, my English teacher
    • Cecily Robertson, my Contemporary History teacher
I could write pages about how those teachers changed the rest of my life.

Of course, neither the students nor the high-school faculty were aware of computers back then. Nevertheless, those teachers contributed to the skills I use every day in both technical work and human relations.

Miss Hackman introduced me to the practice of systematic logical reasoning, a fundamental aspect of computer programming. Mr. McKee drilled me in organizing and expressing thoughts in coherent well-structured written English, an essential skill for software specification and documentation. Miss Robertson sent me to the library to do research and draw valid conclusions. Mrs. Reed instilled an appreciation of formal language structure, which I draw upon in creative aspects of software development.

I sometimes wonder how anyone can be a successful computing professional without such a solid foundation.

NOTE:—Perceptive readers noted a one-year gap in my high-school summary. Thanks to my father's career progression, I attended 11th grade ("junior" year) at a far less challenging high-school with barely qualified teachers.   We can't win them all!

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