David Wasilewski sets his hopes high in the realm of computer programming

Senior David Wasilewski’s independent study allows for him to complete a plethora of different things—computer programming, baking sweet treats in Mr. Smith’s kitchen, and trips down to the greenhouse are just a few of them that make it his favorite hour of the day. 

One major project David just finished was one to help out Computer Science and Calculus teacher Joe Smith, who he also has for his fourth-hour independent study. His goal for this project was to give Mr. Smith’s calc classes a helping tool—a digital one. 

With the assistance of his coding classes past, David programmed a TV that shows the class agenda day in and day out.

“It was Mr. Smith’s idea, and he had a Raspberry Pi [computer] that I made it on,” David said. “It’s a little computer, and it’s running to the TV; I worked with Mr. Smith a little bit when I didn’t understand because it was programming languages I hadn’t used before.”

This TV holds a variety of different components to assist fellow students; so rather than class updates written on the whiteboard in an Expo marker, it is written in a digital code.

“Different types of events are color-coded,” David said. “Quizzes are orange, tests are red, and Webworks assignments are in green, so those are all the important assignments that are graded and that matter the most for students. It has weather and the learning target for the day.”

This task took David a couple of months, working inconsistently, and now, he has provided not only Mr. Smith, but all the calc students with an innovative tool. 

I would slowly make breakthroughs and figure more stuff out, and now, I understand a lot more than I did.”

— David Wasilewski

This project allowed for plenty of growth in regards to David’s already large range of knowledge in computer science. And in the end, he came out with real-life skills once he set his mind to finishing the program.

“It was a really steep learning curve because I had no clue what I was doing,” David said. “I would slowly make breakthroughs and figure more stuff out, and now, I understand a lot more than I did.”

After completing this organizational tool, David set his mind to yet another project to keep him on his feet in his independent study.

As he’s in this study with four other friends, everyone is working independently to better their learning. However, a day-to-day look into that independent study consists of everyone contributing to one another to help out and be productive.

“It really just depends on what we want to do,” David said. “If there’s nothing important we really have to study for, then we can just do that, but we all just work on our own projects and help each other whenever we can.”

Currently, David is tackling his next project—headed down to the greenhouse during class to help yet another teacher and his students out; but this time, it’s for Mr. Scholten’s classes with greenhouse studies.

“I’m working on some computers for the greenhouse,” David said. “There will be some censors in there that do humidity, sunlight tracking, temperature, and sunlight moisture, and that’s going to send the data up to Mr. Scholten’s room.”

In hopes of finishing building these systems by the end of the semester, David had earlier realized that computer science is what he wants to pursue. Attending Michigan State University next year, he will be majoring in what he’s been doing for years, and he could not be more excited.

David’s passion for computer science derives from the fact that this knowledge will give him a leg up in the real world, and he cannot wait to keep excelling in this realm of education.

“What I like about computer science is that it’s very logical and based on solving problems,” David said. “I want to work in programing or software development, so the computer science classes have been a great introduction to that for me.”