Woburn Computer Science - PEG Memories
I am very fortunate to have discovered PEG early on in high school. It wasn't until my freshman year computer science class at Stanford that I realized how exceptional the PEG program was. Over the course of that introductory class, it dawned on me that programming and problem solving skills that I had picked up from PEG was leagues ahead of my peers. And these are some of the best and brightest of the American education system. PEG is definitely more than just making you a better programmer. For me, it was about finding and fostering my passion for technology and also developing my teamwork and leadership skills.
Graduate of the Stanford University
PEG member 1998-2001
It's been three years since I've been in PEG. But there are some things you never forget. Polish donuts. Crazy friends. Insane work. Incredibly fun times.
I'll attempt to be less nebulous. Challenges are my passion. PEG did an incredible job of pushing me well beyond my limits via lessons, practice problems, tests, and competitions. I spent a fair share of time working on daunting piles of homework. Nevertheless, we were all pushed to do our best and I know that I've grown as a result.PEG also presented me with the unique opportunity to teach other students. As a result, I was able to hone my communication and teaching skills. In addition the PEG itself is a wonderful community. Alumni return to teach, share their experiences and assist the next generation of PEG members. Everyone is closely knit and it's a fun group to be with. In summary, PEG was a lot of work, but it was well worth every drop of sweat.
Engineering Science,University of Toronto
PEG Member 2002-04
"As a graduate of Woburn C.I., I had the fortune and privilege of being a member of PEG – the Programming Enrichment Group during my last two years of high school. My first years of high school education were at another local institution that lacked many of the enthusiastic teachers, resources, and opportunities afforded by Woburn. Programs like PEG epitomize the wonderful facets of this magnificent school.
Through PEG, I was challenged to learn as well as gain confidence in teaching. Most of all, I had the opportunity to interact and gain friendships with highly motivated and intelligent peers. Some of the best experiences were on PEG trips to various competitions in different venues. Here, I grew as a person by participating in these social activities and enhancing my experience of different cultures and cities.
Currently, I am a physician completing my subspecialty training in Hematology. I believe, that who I am as a person and how I view the world has been greatly shaped by my experiences and friendships during my childhood and adolescent years. Opportunities like PEG in supportive schools like Woburn are rare. Any positive endeavours such as PEG trips should be encouraged and supported. I hope that you will make every effort to do so.
Cyrus C. Hsia, HBSc, MD"
PEG member 1993-95
"My Experiences at PEG- I am not sure why no one else has said this (of the comments I read), but you learn a lot of useful computer stuff at PEG. Also, PEG makes you really really smart. All the learning I did at PEG - Boolean Algebra such as gates and trees, programming concepts - I have used a lot of it and come across a lot of it in University. For my computer courses I don't have to study a whole lot, because I've already done it in some way at PEG. I've gotten above a 90% in my three university computer related courses in the past three terms by maybe studying for 6-12 hours the entire term - just a brush up of everything I learnt at PEG. Now if you are still not convinced that PEG is really useful for a student, or if you think its only useful for students going into engineering or some other computer related program like CS, there's more. You meet a lot of good people and mentors at PEG - students just like your child (for parents) or yourself (if you are a student) who are dedicated and committed to learning, doing the best and helping others do the same. You also get to get them taken care of by Ms.Plachta, who I think is one of the best teachers of the world, period. And I guess you also get to put down all the regional, national and international contests you participated in on your resume, and make your employers go wow :P. So my reasons for joininng the Programming Enrichment Group or allowing your child to be a part of it - great applicable learning, get your brain cells enriched (get smarter), meet people like you, go on amazing trips, get great mentors and role models to look upto, and have a lot of fun doing it. PEG does also make learning fun. A lot of fun =] Thanks for the opportunity to share & God Bless '_^"
PEG member 2003-05
University of Waterloo
"From the first day I walked into a PEG meeting, I knew that I wanted very much to be a part of this group. Here, finally, were people that not only focused on computer science, but also took care to ensure that every new member was given his or her chance to participate. Certainly it was daunting at the start, not knowing what an FSA was, how to convert to and from binary, or even how to program in Turbo Pascal at all, but the senior members that year each had a part in getting me up to speed."
PEG member 1995 - 2000
University of Waterloo
"But PEG is not only an academic oriented club. Its small numbers lend itself to the making of a tight friendship and camaraderie between all its members. There is a relaxed air and members are always willing to help one another out. The group's impact on members can be seen as a large percent of PEG alumni (some finished university) will return to Woburn either for our year-end party or to help out with the Woburn Challenge competition."
PEG member 1996 - 2000
University of Waterloo
"I am honoured to say that I am among some of the brightest and most promising programmers in Canada. […] However, an astounding account of PEG's numerous achievements does not reach the heart of this club. At its root, PEG's strength stems from the tight knit community which it has formed and preserved over the years. Through my three years of involvement with PEG, I have found my time with the group to be the most rewarding of all my endeavors. It is an unwritten rule that all PEG members, regardless of seniority or ability, plays an equally important role in the overall scheme of things."
PEG member 1998 - 2001
"My most significant academic experience in my life is my experience with PEG. I joined PEG in grade nine knowing it will be very challenging and would require a lot of dedication; I was not disappointed. In PEG I am challenged by a wide variety of programming problems that require far more thought and work than anything I've encountered in school."
PEG member 1995 - 2000
Engineering Science UT
"I joined PEG in grade 11, the same year in which I took my first programming class. At the time, even though the curricular class I was taking seemed mundane and boring, I felt almost if I were out of my league in PEG: returning members performed and discussed programming tasks at such a complex level it seemed as if they were speaking a different language. However, these elite-seeming students all held an attitude of teamwork and collaboration, and these students became first my mentors and later my friends. It is this spirit of students teaching students which makes PEG precisely as wonderful as it is: rather than a textbook-like, sequential discussion of topics every meeting is like a brainstorming session in which each idea rapidly spins a wild tangent into the next. I am sure that I wouldn't have continued programming in my next year if it weren't for PEG: it brought programming to a whole new level of interest and challenge."
A few years later:
"MIT kind of impressed upon me this tem the fact that it really isn't that happy of a place unless you have good friends to get you through stuff (which I thankfully do), and I realize that high school was always a good time regardless. I also miss the trips, they were one of the best parts of the year and there's not really anything to compare them to here - not only in terms of getting out of school =P but more so in terms of the fun. I still remember going up that huge fricken' mountain in the Smokies, how much it killed my legs to get up there, and how ridiculously awesome the view up there was... how Neil and Yoga (if memory serves me correctly) got those cigars... talking smack at the competitions, (remember Neil's advice: you can have fun when you get home, we're here to win). I think you heard the fudge story in San Antonio: Mo, Zaid, Cathy, Satrukaan and I stayed up for like the whole night; Zaid left to get some towels, and we put the half-melted fudge up on the door, only to have it jam when Zaid came in and fall down hanging like a piece of... well, fudge, at which point we broke out laughing ridiculously hard and Zaid just stood there looking confused. More stuff comes to mind, Nihar's hair blowing back like a cracked out monkey on the hovercraft in Miami... Mike and Rachel with crazy hiking songs during the crazy hikes... finally getting you to bark =P... I dunno, almost too many things to remember. The people are really what made it great though, and I hope that people are able to come back if we compete at ACSL this year... "
PEG member 1997-2000
"As for memories... I don't really know... Like, all of PEG and all that's happened is a really good feeling... and I remember what happened, but I can't really think about them offhand - they're all jumbled together into this important piece of my life. I guess that's probably a problem with me, but all I can really say about it is "It was really great" and leave it at that. But here goes:
- the 7-cheeses pizza contest on the Texas trip :-)
- the Miami trip, when Nihar said "Where is Reddy? Here he is!" and when we all got bunched together in a big room and watched Fight Club (till we fell asleep, anyways - I remember I had to catch the flight the next day and was completely out of my mind for most of it)
- the picture of Nihar on the everglades boat with cotton in his ears... heh, I didn't see the actual thing but the picture really sticks in my mind
- the first IPSC contest we did, when the other team printed 10 pages of assorted smiley faces
- beating TJ (well, we tied them, but we had cooler t-shirts :-)
- EVERYTHING you did that was silly, frantic, or amusing :-) (er, no offence)
- 2001-02: "PEG sucks" - yeah right :-)
- can you kick the back of an ass?
I guess it's really hard to come up with memories like this. When I approached it back then, PEG was always this thing that was going to be there forever - it was good, but I assumed it was going to continue, and now I can only remember vaguely individual events."
Xin David Zhang
"Here are some of my favourite memories about PEG:
ECOO at 5 Grammercy 1999
Between us, we made up RAAS - Rachel, Andrew, Andrew and Satrukaan. I think that was the most fun but intense 5 hours (?) I ever had programming. The four us, conveniently situated beside the doughnuts in the kitchen were on a sugar high during the whole competition. Throughout the competition, we attempted and submitted practically every problem (except "Just Shoot me Now"). Unfortunately, we never got one totally working and after once, we would move onto another problem entirely, never finishing any one problem and accumulating many negative points. We must have finished with something on the order of -100! Towards 5 PM, I'd had enough and started picking at Gershwin on the piano. Poor Dave P, located in the living room as a one-person team, had to listen to our antics the whole afternoon. The moral of this story was: If you've got a program more or less working, continue working at it until it works. That way, you will at least have one working program instead of 5 half-working programs submitted 30 times."
"My favourite part of this whole trip (besides winning a nice book for acing all my ACSL problems that year) was the hike up Smoky Mountain. It was a difficult 3 hour climb (for me) but arriving at the top was exhilarating. On the way down, it started pouring and most of us got really wet. We had trouble finding dry clothes to eat at the buffet that night.
Spending close to six hours a week after school and more at home doing PEG homework, it is no surprise that PEG has become an integral part of my life. One of the most significant things, with which it has provided me, is the opportunity to learn higher level concepts in computer science that I would not have been taught in a regular computer class. […] For all the members, PEG provides an opportunity for us to meet with like-minded people who share similar interests to us. After spending so much time together, I feel that the members of PEG are like my extended family. PEG is a club in which I am always at ease and will never have to worry what others will think of me […] who else would understand my jubilation when I finally understand max-flow-min-cut, or my excitement when I discover the simplicity of Dijkstra's algorithm?"
PEG member 1996 - 2000
Engineering Science UT
"For me, PEG was both a place to learn and a place to have fun. It was a place that continuously pushed me past what I thought I was capable of. Through PEG, I learned new ways to solve problems and gained invaluable experiences in managing competitive environments. However, my fondest memories of PEG are not of the times that I spent programming but rather of the times that I spent with the people in the group. From the yearly ACSL trips to the regular get-togethers at Mrs. Plachta's house, I grew to know many people in PEG extremely well to the point that PEG became my extended family: a family that played, I now realize, an important role in my growth and maturation."
PEG members 2000-2002