Taking an early turn toward a career in computer science
Online classes allow junior Liam Madson to graduate a year early
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While many students enjoy spending their time binge-watching Netflix, this student spends his taking classes. Through e-learning, junior Liam Madson is going to graduate early with the class of 2015.
E-learning is an online school that provides all of the core classes and even some electives. Through this program, students can take courses at a quicker pace. For instance, Madson completed the semester-long Financial Algebra class in just one week. However, he said he mostly uses e-learning to complete English and social studies courses.
Madson is also involved in the MTHS STEM program. As a part of the engineering program, he chose to pursue the Computer Science pathway, in which students learn the basics of programming and code. As a part of the STEM program, he also has a zero period for Engineering Design and Development (EDD).
“[He’s a student who] likes to learn [and is] quick to learn. He was really good for a classroom. Not only was he a nice person to deal with as a teacher, but he also contributes a lot to the atmosphere and culture of the classroom; one of helpfulness, one of keeping the learning going,” engineering teacher Craig Devine said.
Through his engineering classes Madson will graduate high school with a total of 15 college credits.
In his daily routine, Madson goes home at the end of fourth period to take his remaining two classes online. However, when the MTHS chapter of Technology Student Association (TSA) has meetings, Madson returns to the school at the end of the day.
Madson has been in TSA since his sophomore year.
“I wanted to be a part of a club because that’s something you should probably do in high school. TSA had a variety of events which sounded interesting,” he said.
As a member of TSA, Madson has won the Silver Achievement Award, which is awarded to people who demonstrate leadership development, an understanding of technology, career and personal planning and service to their school and community.
“It’s been self-motivated. It’s not an assignment that Liam is completing; these are things that he has taken on an on his own,” TSA advisor and science teacher Mark Burbank said.
He also earned third place for Structural Engineering his sophomore year. Madson’s task was to design build a bridge-like structure to be the most efficient, meaning it had to carry as much weight while being composed of as little material as possible.
There were many strict rules for the design of the bridge, such as how long and wide to make it, what materials to use and even what methods to use to connect the pieces of wood.
This year his team earned fifth place in Tech Bowl, a jeopardy-like game with technology-based questions, such as vocabulary definitions.
Madson said his time in TSA helped him to develop certain life skills.
“It was a great opportunity to work as a group. It also taught [me] self management,” Madson said.
Burbank agreed that TSA and the STEM program allowed Liam to grow during his time in high school.
“He’s really grown in his ability to communicate with others that don’t have his skills in technology,” Burbank said.
TSA isn’t the only place Madson shines. He has won several other awards, including student of the month twice for e-learning.
He was also nominated to be the Career and Technical Education (CTE) leadership student. As the CTE leadership student, Madson must be available to answer questions about CTE and plan certain CTE events and poster-presentations.
Madson has also found ways to serve his community. He has been involved in an event called the laptop rollout for three years which is sponsored by the Edmonds Foundation. As a part of this, he helps distribute Edmonds School District (ESD) schools’ old computers to students on free and reduced lunch who cannot afford their own.
“Liam [Madson] has done a lot of things on his own that have helped other students,” Burbank said. “He is always so confident and upbeat and he’s a very giving person. He’s got a lot of skills, and one of the things he does consistently is to share those skills with others.”
Managing the e-learning website is another way he contributes his talents.
This outstanding individual doesn’t stop when the final bell rings for summer. Madson has had an internship at the Edmonds Foundation since mid-July of last year. His mother told him about the program and he said it’s been a rewarding experience.
“It’s really cool for me because it’s [a job] related to what I want to do, which isn’t bagging groceries everyday,” he added.
His daily job includes a variety of tasks, such as troubleshooting when people have problems with their computers. It started as a summer job, but he was asked to continue his work through this school year. He plans to continue this summer, next summer and possibly through the next school year.
Madson plans on attending the University of Washington Bothell in the fall to pursue his goal to become a computer scientist or engineer.
“Computers have always been interesting,” Madson said. “[Look at] how much of today’ society is integrated with computers, especially the U.S. – water, electricity, [it’s] all controlled by big computers. Most kids now have smartphones which they’re interacting with. It’s just so entangled with life and I feel like it needs to grow and develop.”
With his goals in mind, Madson is ready to take a step into his future a year early. Luckily, he isn’t too disappointed that he’s not graduating with his peers.
“I get to get out of here a year early,” he laughed.