Unfortunately, life happened, and my parents went through an ugly divorce. It left both of them in very bad places and in dire financial situations. Forgive me for getting a bit personal, but things got bad enough that my mother applied for foodstamps, though she didn't want me to know. I was given the "poor card" that I could present publically in line in front of all the other kids to show I qualified for the cheap lunch price: $0.40.
As an adult I know there is no shame in that, but as a middle schoool teenage boy I was quite embarrassed. This is when I knew I needed to make some money. I'd do everything I could to scrounge up $2.00 so I could pay full price. Mowing yards or any small jobs that I could find.
That's when my friend Keith and I decided we'd start a website agency called "Kult Design". Keith would do the sales and design, and I'd build it with HTML and CSS. We only ever got one customer though, his uncle. We probably should have pushed harded, but people didn't really take two children selling websites very seriously. So, a few years later, I followed my dad's advice and got a job at the local McDonalds as soon as I was legally allowed to work.
My high school had Computer Science classes. I started with Basic in my freshman year, and then C++ the next, and I was in AP Java by my junior year. I didn't fully appreciate how lucky I was, at the time. As I've grown older I truly feel very fortunate that I was able to spend time learning these valuable skills. Many children were, and still are, not able to have this blessing. I'm truly fortunate and grateful for this.
Beyond the opportunity itself, Mr. Montminy was our Computer Science teacher and he was transformative in my life. A true legend amongst men.
During my days at school, any study I had was spent in the computer lab. When I went home, I'd pop in my floppy disk that I carried around and continued. Not only was I amazed at the idea of building tools that would do my work for me, it was also my escape.
You know, that and screaming into a microphone and making a bunch of noise.
My junior year of high school is where I was really able to first spread my wings in Computer Science. For our AP Project we were allowed to come up with something we really wanted to make, and then actually make it! I chose to make a copycat version of the game "Brick Break". Brick Break had a special place in my heart as one the earliest games I loved, and I set out to recreate is using Java Swing.
And recreate it I did. I even added an infinite level generator so you could play forever. I backed it all up to my super reliable floppy disk. I managed to keep that floppy disk long enough that computers no longer read floppy disks, and have since lost it, much to my dismay.
So it goes.