Michael Wiley


Class of 2011
Senior Project Manager

When I first entered the Network Assistant program at the Center for Advanced Technologies, I was a less than average student. I had a low GPA, was uninitiated, and many teachers were astonished that I was let in. More importantly, I had a lot of untapped potential that none of my regular classes had been able to reach. I was bored with not only the classes I was taking, but the format that they were taught in. The thing I didn't like about those classes was that even if you had the capability to completely master the subject material, luxury still wouldn't be afforded to you since the focus was on everyone learning at the same pace, and in the same way. In the networking room, we were encouraged to learn in a challenge orientated way.

Our network administrator would come up with ideas that he felt would benefit the school, and would assign roles in those projects to people based on their specialties. After that he was an always present, but never intrusive, source to go to after I've exhausted myself trying to research the solution to a problem. In the network administration room, I learned that most answers to any question you may have are already out there. In the network administration room, I learned how to read documentation, and was taught the value of self-documentation. Though admittedly each individual student’s specialties were stressed, they were also taught about things they weren't the most skilled in. I am a computer programmer through and through, yet when I wanted to learn about hardware, I was provided with all the tools I needed in order to practice that skill.

Another thing that made the Network Assistant program the most important high school experience that I've had was definitely the sense of community, both within the Network Room, and throughout the school. When I worked on a project and saw it come to fruition, the principal would come in and congratulate anyone on a job well done. Teachers were active in the development of each idea and project. When I had finished work on the Electronic Hall Pass system, Mr. Zulli made sure to stress that it wasn't his project but just an idea that he had given to me. That project is without a doubt my proudest accomplishment of all my high school years. I'm now going to the same college as all the network assistants who graduated in my class. They are my best friends and they are friendships that were fostered in the Center for Advanced Technologies Network Operations Center. I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.

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