Wednesday, July 8, 2009

SITES Testimonial: Hung Vo (Atlanta)

BDPA volunteers work with over 800 students every year in our Student Information Technology Education & Scholarship (SITES) program. BDPA Atlanta chapter has been focused on youth education programs for a number of years. One of the young people that took advantage of the SITES program in Atlanta is Hung Vo. Hung shared his thoughts on the training that he received in Atlanta:

Being a public school student with an interest in computer, Internet, and technology, there were not many opportunities for me to pursue that interest, if any. While a senior in high school, I heard from a teacher that BDPA high school computer competition (HSCC) is starting up again in Atlanta. From the BDPA flyer, I knew students trained in HTML, ASP, SQL, and other computer coding languages, which piqued my interest; however, I was hesitant to sign up, because I had joined a similar program, the year before which had turned out to be a bust. Even so, I felt I should not miss this good opportunity. Along with some friends, I decided to enroll in the program.

My first day at BDPA was very exciting. I had met many other students from different schools and districts. I had also met many of the passionate staffs of BDPA’s Atlanta chapter, including President Teresa, Instructor Maurice, and Coach Wes. I remembered how Coach Wes told us like 5000 times how his team had won the HSCC national time a record 4 years in a row. He let us know that winning the national was possible, but only if we worked hard. I knew from that day on that BDPA was the right program to be in ... a program where I could gain computer knowledge and discipline.

The time I spent at BDPA was very enjoyable. Even though Teresa was the president, she would go out of her way and provide us with delicious lunch every Saturday. From Maurice, I learned so much about creating website with HTML and using ASP and SQL to work with the server/client. Coach Wes worked with us on our presentation skills – public speaking, decorum, and the likes. They and along with the other BDPA’s leaders, made me, and I am sure the other students, feel like we were part of a family. That year, my teammates worked hard to win first place but came up a little short – winning 5th place in Atlanta.

Since then, I have graduated from high school and am attending the Georgia Institute of Technology, majoring in computer science. While in BDPA, I knew I was learning a lot, but I did not realize how much I gained from BDPA until now. Besides learning how to write code, which is useful for my computer science class, my experience while in BDPA has enhanced my work ethic, my speaking abilities, and my ability to work with others as a team. All the intangible skills that I have gained from BDPA have helped me to adapt successfully to college. In addition, I still receive email updates from BDPA. One of the BDPA’s leaders, Clarence, continues to send me information on available jobs and internships.

I recently gained Co-op employment thanks to using Coach Wes as my reference. Looking back, I had gained a lot from BDPA then, and the connections I have developed continue to help me in my current and future endeavors. The only bad thing about BDPA is that it was not here in Atlanta when I was a freshman in high school.

Some wonder why I'm regularly seeking donations for BETF. Young 'uns like Hung Vo are the reason. My hope is that you will make a personal decision to provide some type of financial support to our efforts. If not us ... Who?

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