TJ Computer Magnet students are rewarded for their efforts.
by Ben Gilliland
photo courtesy of Stacey Fornstrom
On Saturday April 5, the Project Management Institute (PMI) awarded multiple scholarships to Computer Magnet students from Thomas Jefferson and North High Schools, and two TJ students were also awarded the title of Project Manager of the Year for their final projects in their Computer Magnet classes.
At TJ, seniors in the Computer Magnet program take a Pathways class, sponsored by PMI for high school students. In the class no new skills or concepts are taught, rather the students are to apply all of the knowledge that they have learned over the past three years in the Magnet program. “Pathways has been a good fit here at TJ. We wanted a class that let the students choose what they want to do. As a teacher I just provide support,” said Pathways Teacher Stacey Fornstrom.
For the past several months Magnet students have been working on their final projects in their Pathways class, building a successful web-based business. “There is no set curriculum for this class. The students had to come up with the idea themselves and it’s up to them how they design and create their website,” said Fornstrom. All of the students in the class applied for the PMI scholarship. They had to fill out an application where they explained their project, told how they would use their computer skills in the future, and said what extra curricular activities in which they participated. There were ten students, from both TJ and North, who were awarded the scholarship.
The TJ winners were Jasser Mohamed, Jesse Altum, Ermias Hadera, Derrick Ratcliff, and Katie Fitzgerald. Each of these students will receive $2,000 dollars to the Colorado institute of their choice. The scholarship program was initiated four years ago, and during that time over $70,000 dollars has been given to Magnet students. On Friday April 11, all of the winners attended a luncheon at 11:30 a.m. at the Colorado Convention Center, where Bob Kendrick from Channel 9 News presented the awards.
During the year all of the Pathways students also compiled all of their work into a notebook, where they recorded things that they have done on their project throughout the year. The students attended a luncheon at the Double Tree Hotel where a set of judges went around and looked at their notebooks and judged them on how well they used the principles and concepts of the Pathways class to build their project. Two TJ students, Altum and Mohamed, were picked as the winners and were awarded Project of the Year. Of all the projects submitted, theirs were the best, giving them the title of Project Managers of the year.
Altum created a Fashion Company called JA Fashion. He built the website from scratch, and designed and sold his own line of clothing. “Working on this project took a lot of determination and creativity, but the final product of my company, and being able to take the pride in showing it to others, is what made this all worthwhile. Winning Project Manager of the Year has given me a great opportunity to advance my education towards business and entrepreneurship development,” said Altum.
Mohamed created a printing company called EX-Pass. His business has printed all of the tickets for TJ functions this year. “Working on this project was a lot of hard work, but in the end it all paid off. I am happy with the way it turned out, and I am excited about being awarded Project Manager of the year,” said Mohamed.
“Students can take the skills and concepts that they learned from the curriculum in the Pathways class, and use it in real life to help them in whatever they do,” said Fornstrom.