PMHS student writes chapter in open-source technology book

   Not many high school students can boast that they’re published authors, but Penn Manor’s Max Bushong can make that claim at the ripe old age of 15.

    Bushong, a sophomore at Penn Manor High School, wrote a chapter in the new book The Open Organization Guide for Educators about his experience as a Help Desk apprentice for the high school’s 1-to-1 laptop program.

    The 241-page book was published in September by Red Hat, the world’s largest open-source software support company, to showcase open technology initiatives in education.

    Penn Manor’s 1-to-1 program, offered in grades four through 12, runs on Linux, a free open-source software program that has saved Penn Manor about $1 million in software licensing fees over the past 10 years. Linux also enables students and teachers to tweak the software to meet their unique needs.

    Max’s chapter focuses on working alongside Penn Manor’s technology staff to repair, update and service student laptops as part of a Help Desk apprenticeship course implemented to support the 1-to-1 program.

    “The fact that my peers, teachers, and IT staff communicate and interact with me as if I worked for Penn Manor makes me feel like a valued and respected member of the school district,” he writes. “The feeling of achievement when I fix a laptop or solve a computing problem is immense. An ‘A’ on a history paper can never compare.”

    Charlie Reisinger, the district’s technology director, also wrote a chapter detailing how the 1-to-1 program has “amplified student curiosity and learning freedom” at Penn Manor.

    Reisinger was contacted by Red Hat to contribute a chapter, but he also wanted a student voice in the book, so he approached Max last spring about writing a chapter. He jumped at the opportunity.

   “My draft chapter was sent into the editor, my piece got selected and we went from there,” Max said. His chapter went through five drafts – with help from his English teacher Courtney Harting, Penn Manor technology staff members and Red Hat editors – before it was ready to be published.

    “I learned that it definitely takes a lot of time and effort to get everything down just right,” Max said. “I look back from the original document to this one, and it changed so much. I’m really pleased with how it turned out.”

    When the book came out, Max said, “it hit me that, wow, now I’m an author. Just to see your name in print, it’s a really cool experience at such a young age.”

    Max’s chapter is the only one written by a high school student, Reisinger said.

    “Max offers an authentic, insightful, and honest view into the day-to-day world of the Student Help Desk,” he said. “He is a terrific technologist and writes with an authority and perspective well beyond his age.”

    “Without question, he has a bright future.”

      Congratulations to Max and Charlie!

Max Bushong