First, there is camp, where students get together, collaborate, learn new skills, and develop talents. Then, there is after-camp, when we discover all the amazing ways those students are taking their knowledge to the next level. For us, it’s a point of pride. It warms our hearts to receive updates or read stories about our campers who go on to do something BIG out in the real world.
Which brings us to Noah.
Noah after an awards ceremony at Upper Dublin High School, proud of his calculus symbols bowtie
Noah, a remarkably talented iD Tech alum and accomplished programmer, has overcome big challenges over the past few years!
Flash back to 2013. Noah enrolled in a Java Programming class in order to prepare for the AP Computer Science course at his high school (a course in which he is currently getting an A, mind you). He has also since been elected president of his school’s Computer Club.
“He learned some excellent computer skills and loves sharing those skills with others,” Noah’s mother, Deborah, says. “It’s something he saw modeled in the positive environment at iD Tech.”
Noah returned to iD Tech in 2014 to further his Java skills and study something new in Game Modding & Java Coding. He is now using the skills he picked up to write code for Minecraft and blogs, and has also analyzed data using Java for his recent science fair project--a study of GPS accuracy. He won first place.
Now, you're probably thinking that all of these achievements would be remarkable on their own; which they are, undoubtedly. However, Noah has been tasked with much more on his way to achieving great things.
“Noah took iD Tech courses during a time in his life when he had progressive and severe scoliosis,” Deborah says.
Scoliosis, for those who don't know, is the medical condition consisting of a sideways curvature of the spine.
“He was frankly quite sad about it,” Deborah says. “He disappeared inside himself, and computer programming was the exciting destination that kept him mentally healthy.”
Noah (left) and his brother Jonah (right) sporting some iD Tech gear
As a result, back surgery was inevitable, but Noah refused to let it keep him down. Even when his condition would be obvious to other students, Noah endured it with strength, and was met with amazing support.
“One year, he wore a bulky brace to camp and everyone was lovely and supporting to him,” Deborah says. “He came back another year after his surgery and had some physical limitations, and again everyone was so kind and caring to him.”
His inspiration? Noah was driven by disabled superheroes, and identified in particular with Oracle, a super-smart Batgirl-turned-wheelchair-bound specialist sidekick; a woman who was paralyzed and yet still retained her full intellectual capabilities and was essential to Batman’s success. Noah realized that if superheroes could be disabled and still fight crime with powerhouses like Batman, then he could overcome anything, too.
“Noah actually spent his own money for camp, money he’d saved from gifts over his whole childhood,” Deborah says. “He took the boost iD Tech gave him and went on to build it into the scaffolding for his future.”
Now, a year later, Noah is totally healed, excelling in school (his mother called it a “blockbuster” year), and rocking science fairs, Computer Clubs, and his AP classes. He even recently won a first place standing with a perfect score in upper division physics at the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) State Science Fair. He dreams of working for the NSA someday.
“Learning to program in Java was the key that opened the door to a new and happy life for Noah,” Deborah confirms. “The instructors were strong role models that have impacted Noah greatly and inspired him to want to give back and teach other kids to program."
Noah volunteering at a local elementary school on science fair night
“The abilities he learned and was able to use to such great effect kept him sane and happy and dreaming of his future during a time in his life that was so difficult,” Deborah concludes. “So, hats off to all of you at iD Tech. One more kid out there in the world that you have helped put on a path to happiness and school career success.”
Hats off to you too, Noah, and to Deborah for raising such a special, strong, and giving young man.