Following are the words of a former Chip student after she had acquired an engineering degree and was working in the high-tech sector.
There are a few moments which I can look upon as momentous for me and being part of CHIP is definitely high on that list.
I cannot speak of what the experience meant for other people, or how they feel about it today, but I can whole-heartedly say that I was fortunate to have been at that school in that year. CHIP was special to me on so many levels. It was a growing experience, intellectually, socially and emotionally.
I believe that CHIP brought people together whose paths may not have otherwise crossed. It taught us to see qualities in people that were so different from ourselves, and to appreciate them for their respective talents. I know a lot of highly educated people today who still do not respect the qualities of people whose life pursuits are different than their own. It’s simply not something that can be taught in the traditional classroom. I am glad to have spent that time with people who excelled in art, language, math, and life.
We were all drawn to CHIP for different reasons. In fact, I don’t even recall the circumstances under which I ended up in that class! I do know, though, that in a period in our lives when all of us yearn to belong, we found that in CHIP. I was fortunate to belong to a group based on being creative, learning and encouraging, rather than the negative sorts of groups into which so many teens fall.
CHIP gave me a place to build confidence. That is something that was critical in my development. More than anything academic, that is something that I needed to learn that year.
I’m not the right person to ask about the affect on my academic ability. Quite frankly, I’m certain that I would have succeeded in that area regardless of the program I followed. However, it was the first time I felt passionate about learning! Having the opportunity to ask, challenge, teach and be taught encouraged me to learn and to care about what I was learning. I recall (and here I’m hoping that I remember correctly!) Joy’s mother’s comment on why she felt CHIP should continue. She said that it was the first time she saw kids our age working so long and excitedly on school. In my view, anything that turns learning into an invigorating experience rather than a forced procedure is spectacular.
I did not feel that way about learning again until my last year of university. At that time, I participated in a contest (for credit) introduced by Nortel. I was placed on a team with 3 business students and one other engineering student to develop a real-life-based proposal including a network design and business plan. The dynamics of that project were so similar to CHIP: independence, challenge, diversity of backgrounds and teamwork. These are the components that stimulate learning.
So often I hear of problems in our education system . . . high cost, children with ADD, violence. Every time I hear of one of these, my thoughts turn to CHIP.