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Hilltop student contributes knowledge & skill to school community

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Joe Boll, a Grade 11 student at Hilltop Jr/Sr High School (HTH) in Whitecourt, is making a name for himself at school. Technology-inclined, Joe has been taking his interest in computers and technology to another level, experimenting with projects in his computer classes and sharing his expertise with his teachers and other students.

Creates garage door opener using Raspberry Pi

One project Joe worked on this year was with a Raspberry Pi. A Raspberry Pi is a low cost, credit-card sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor or TV, and uses a standard keyboard and mouse. It is the “brain” of a computer without the physical exterior and accoutrements we are used to seeing. This capable little device enables people of all ages to explore computing and to learn how to program.

Joe programmed his Raspberry Pi to open and close his family’s garage door.                           .

Knowledge breeds opportunity

Joe is using his experience to work with the local ski hill, building a program for them, using Raspberry Pi, to display their prices and other information on a large TV screen at the new ski hill - an exciting new Raspberry Pi opportunity for Joe for sure.

Joe is also a seasoned pro when it comes to the Google platform, which was rolled out division-wide this past fall. Joe has helped numerous teachers set up different Google applications for classroom use and is quickly becoming the go-to for teachers wanting to experiment with new technology.

Joe built a program for one teacher that is used to shorten URLs (website addresses), much like bitly and other such software. This was an excellent programming achievement for Joe and has included updates and plans for future revision. His interest and ease with technology has teachers wondering if Joe might be interested in becoming a “Googlesherpa” for HTH and earning credits to assist teachers with using Google apps in their classrooms.

This young student has mentored other students, advocated for better access to WiFi within the school and was awarded a Whitecourt Spirit of Youth award this past year. He was nominated for the award by one of his teachers, Meagan Hilland:

 “Joe is a kind-hearted and helpful young man. He has been a great help to me in computer class. He regularly shares his ideas and insight, has a great attitude and is the kind of kid that if you give him an idea or a task, he completely runs with it.”

Working with teachers to help them learn about different google apps

A lot of teachers are still really new to the google world, and are really enthusiastic about trying it, but are a little unsure,” said Hilland. “So this has been a great opportunity for Joe to help and support them in whatever it is they want to learn.”

Joe has been working with one of the Math teachers and the Librarian and volunteers his time around his school schedule. His knowledge and willingness to help are earning him volunteerism credits at HTH.

Joe isn’t yet sure if his future includes a career in computer science or technology, but appreciates the opportunities he has had to contribute to his school community and learn new skills like planning, trouble-shooting and communication skills. The Grade 10 student speaks confidently about different operating systems, problems with technology and possible solutions – feedback that he shared at HTH’s recent student forum.

We look forward to seeing what Joe is working on at Hilltop next year! Keep up the great work!

BUILDING program nurtures leadership and builds capacity Engaging students through Makerspaces!