Darryl shared his thoughts on BDPA with us in the following testimonial:
My experience with BDPA has been an emotionally, physically and mentally trying experience for each of the three years I was actively apart of the program. To this day I am amazed at how much I’ve changed since being a young, naive freshman to a mature high school graduate. I went into the program not knowing anything about programming, public speaking or teamwork, but each of those skills grew in me over the three years.
Coach Wes took me under his wing and treated me like one of his own. He set goals and expectations for not only me, but all my teammates, too. We felt obligated to meet said commitments no matter how extensive or daunting they were. I remember going to the Regionals during my first year of the program and Coach Wes kept telling us that the Regionals were just a learning experience to see how Nationals would be. In short he did not want us to get our hopes up too high, but the Atlanta Chapter practically got first place. Later that year we went to Nationals, in our home town, and received fifth place in the whole country. We made ourselves, and the whole Atlanta chapter, proud.
The second year was a rough year for everyone on the team. I can honestly say that I was not putting my all into the program, and I apologize for that. We went to Nationals and did very bad. It was not a good feeling. I felt as if I was just wasting not only my time but everyone in the Atlanta chapter that donated their time and resources into me. I decided to come back to the program next year with an entirely new outlook.
On the first day of the program Coach Wes told us that if we did not perform like we wanted to go to Nationals, then we wouldn’t be going. He also said that no one has a guaranteed spot on the team. Over the months of classes he repeatedly stated, “We still haven’t bought those plane tickets yet.” He used this to motivate us to put out Nationals quality work. When summer began, training for Nationals kicked into high gear. I was busy working on my PHP coding just about six days a week. If I was not at Impact Church learning the ins and outs of databases or creating an application with Mr. Andre, I was over Coach Wes’s house working on coding National problems. We went into the national competition focused and armed with all the knowledge to be successful during the competition. Although we did not win, my team and I were happy with our performance, not only because it was a huge step up from last year’s performance, but because we knew the material we needed, and in a sense that was comforting.
This program helped instill responsibility in me, without it I know for certain I would be a totally different person.
We look for great things over the coming years from Darryl. You can help us support other young people interested in STEM-based knowledge by making a secure online donation to our college scholarship fund in support of Atlanta chapter.