PASCAL Programming

Jason attended the State University of New York – New Paltz and completed college level programming courses at age 11.

At age 10 Jason wanted a motorcycle. He pestered his parents to get him a motorcycle for an entire year. His friends had motorcycles – why couldn’t he?
Jason was fascinated with electronics and mechanics, and started staying after school to play around with a new thing the math teacher, Mrs. Lee, had purchased for the school: a computer. He and his friend would spend hours in the back room of the library seeing what this new device could do.

Then one of his friends had an accident, and his parents bought him a computer instead of a motorcycle. It was a TRS-80, just like the one at school.

Jason spent lots of time typing in BASIC programs, games, and modifying them. Eventually his teacher told his mother that he needed to go to some kind of class, that she was learning more from Jason than the other way around. His mother searched for something a kid could attend, and luckily there were no age restrictions on attendance at the local state college campus in New Paltz, NY.

Instead of having personal computers, assignments were performed on terminals connected to the university mainframe. Jason got exposed to FORTRAN and got to watch a grown man scream as he dropped a box of punchcards, a program he had saved on paper. The adults attending the class came to Jason for help with assignments and he became popular in the computer lab during the hours his mother allowed him to stay, graciously dropping him off and picking him up from the campus as much as the assignments required.

This started a habit of self-teaching, a necessary characteristic of anyone who’s going to excel with technology.