What do past students say?
AP Computer Science was easily one of my best decisions in high school. With very limited knowledge of computer’s Mrs. Hess got me interested in a field different from anything else Tahoma offered. Taking the class and passing the exam alone was a worthwhile experience and the knowledge itself earned me a paid internship at Microsoft Research. Mrs. Hess’ lectures prepared me for every coding question required at the interview, giving me the opportunity to spend my summer working with leviathan’s of the field.
College Computer Programming then took my love of computer science to another level. In this class I was able to work independently to conquer programming techniques that students at my college have to put off due to a long list of pre-requisites.
Beyond the pragmatic reasoning behind taking the class, the greatest benefit was being in Mrs. Hess’ classroom. Mrs. Hess is one of the most attentive and genuinely caring teachers I’ve had the pleasure of learning from. She was always willing to stay late to search for bugs or explain concepts. Thanks to her, programming contest awards, scholarships, and certificates of excellence from the American Association of University Women line my resume. With her help I became a National AP Scholar and pushed myself to take on tasks I never would have considered. In showing me what I was capable of, Mrs. Hess did more than teach me java. She opened me up to a subject I love and gave me the confidence to pursue it.
– Angela, graduated 2013
Mrs. Hess’ class was by far the most influential class of my life thus far and honestly a pivotal moment in my life. I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my future when I accidentally signed up for AP Computer Science my sophomore year. After getting over the initial shock of what I would be doing all quarter and with a little coaxing from Mrs. Hess I realized how much I loved coding. It only took a short time for me to realize that I wanted to pursue a career in Computer Science and over the next couple years Mrs. Hess helped me to build a very solid foundation for my future career. The concepts I learned back in high school are being built on continuously and have helped me a lot here in college. Take it one step farther than I did and actually take the class on purpose you won’t regret it!! Also Mrs. Hess was the coolest and nicest teacher I’ve had so that doesn’t hurt either!!
– Andrew, graduated 2012
Taking Computer Science was one of the best decisions I made in high school. I took both Computer Science A & AB with Ms. Hess. While most of my other classes were just ‘requirements’, CS was the one I really enjoyed attending. I enjoyed the subject so much that I took a third year self-directed study as a senior.
Computer Science challenges you to think in new ways, but unlike other sciences, you can see the immediate value from your learning. The ability to create software for computers is empowering.
I am now attending the University of Washington, class of 2015. I have interned at Amazon for the past 3 years, and I attribute that success to my early introduction to the computer science field.
– Tom, graduated 2010
Computer Science for me wouldn’t be the same today without having taken Mrs. Hess’ class. For a long time I had always wanted to dig deeper into the world of technology, and her class really showed me what computer science was all about. It opened up a whole world of creative and logical thinking, that I felt so compelled to learn more about. To this day, I always look back and remember how much I enjoyed learning the basics. AP computer science influenced me so much, that I now program in my free-time for fun, and am currently shooting for a BS in Computer Science.
Being only a Sophomore at Western Washington University (graduating in 2016), I have already had a 6 month long internship, focused around android application development, and am currently helping build the Whatcom Transportation Authority’s official Bus Stop app. I have done several personal projects of my own, and my portfolio has only grown since my graduation from Tahoma Senior High. I can easily say that a lot of this wouldn’t have happened without having taken AP Computer Science. It’s helped me find a career I can’t wait to go further in, and I hope others can share in that same wealth of learning that Mrs. Hess’ class can provide.
– Conner, graduated 2010
Of all my high school courses and extracurriculars, my experiences in Mrs. Hess’ Computer Science classes have by far had the largest impact upon my career. They were the only courses that provided any direct correlation into an industry and really opened my eyes to not only the power of the field, but just how much fun the problem space can be. The concepts I learned in those introductory courses helped me get direct admittance into the CS department at UW, which in turn enabled me to get high paying internships starting in my first year. Since then I have interned at Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Zillow, and Jawfish and during the interview process for each company I was able to utilize projects I worked on in high school as topics of discussion. Not only has this set me up to be sitting on a double digit number of full time offers, but it has also enabled me to cover all of my schooling costs graduating this year with no debt and no financial support from my parents. This is unheard of in any other field as most of my peers struggle to find a single offer and will face the burdens of school loans for years to come. In fact, one of the largest regrets I hear from brothers in my Fraternity and students of campus abroad is that they never explored Computer Science or did so too late for it to be an option. I cannot praise the Computer Science programs and Tahoma enough and would suggest it as a near no brainer opportunity to any student blessed enough to be in the district.
– Kyle, graduated 2009
Stereotypically, my CS skills have come in handy throughout my college career. I never took another CS class after high school, but I gained the skills I needed to teach myself other programs like MATLAB and R to make homework assignments really easy. It also helped me succeed at my first job as a UW research assistant where I was expected on the first day to be able to teach myself a programming language and use it effectively for the rest of the summer-long job. It was also useful during my loads and dynamics engineering internship at Boeing because I had to do a lot of statistical analysis, and just programming everything made the job go faster than anticipated and impressed my manager. This led me to landing my current job with Boeing as manufacturing engineer.
Non-stereotypically, one of the skills I gained from computer science has been to think through all possible circumstances in a given situation. Working through many failed IF statements has taught me to look for all possible outcomes and combinations when I am trying to understand a problem and determine root cause. This is especially true at my current job as a manufacturing engineer for Boeing. Another “soft skill” I gained from CS class was to think through the steps of solving a problem before starting, similar to writing pseudo-code. This is important for problems of larger scope and doing this allows me to collect the minimum amount of information required upfront with drowning myself in data or forgetting to collect some.
– Sami, graduated 2010
I can say I’ve used the CS skills quite a bit after Computer Science at Tahoma. Albeit, I don’t use the Java specific skills. But after taking your class I got an internship in college and went on to make a career out of my CS skills. I may not do a lot of programming, but I do have to read, execute, and troubleshoot scripts on a daily basis. My brother is in college taking CS classes. He’ll be better than I, eventually, but for now it’s fun to brainstorm the most elegant way to solve a problem.
– Mike, graduated 2006
As a summer job during college, I helped design the website for a structural engineering company. I found that my learning curve for HTML was greatly accelerated by the fact that I had already learned the basics of coding (including the importance of syntax, structure, and how to efficiently fix coding errors) in a different language, Java, with Ms. Monteiro [now Hess]. My interning supervisor and I were pleasantly surprised at how quickly we were able to breeze through the project.
The benefits of having Ms. Monteiro as my Computer Science instructor didn’t stop at code writing, though. She also encouraged us to become interested in computer hardware as well. Since taking her course, I have built every computer I’ve ever owned. Understanding software and hardware is an important part of being an efficient PC user, and in the case of building computers, it can save you loads of money.
Critical thinking is absolutely essential for my current job, as I am in my third year of pursuing my doctoral degree in biomedical research. Similar to developing a research hypothesis, writing code often requires a huge amount of both abstract thought and critical thinking, neither of which are easy skills to develop. I have no doubt that these skills were greatly honed by Ms. Monteiro during my Computer Science course.
– Katie, graduated 2006