From freshman through junior year, Clarenceville High School senior Max Zarzycki was doing all the right things you typically hear a student should do to get accepted into college. He was getting good grades, participating in extracurricular activities and taking advanced placement courses to master the curriculum.
But then, his senior year, Zarzycki decided to take a path many students and families aren’t aware of or don’t even consider.
Instead of continuing to take AP classes, Zarzycki decided to attend Oakland Schools Technical Campus Southwest (OSTC-SW) in Wixom where he began taking courses in computer programming.
Zarzycki’s ambition is to major in computer science and minor in business, so he can eventually run his own company.
“My goal in life is not to work for someone, but to create my own job and I think computer science is the outlet for it,” he explained. “Plus, I enjoy it, so it just goes hand in hand.”
Zarzycki felt attending OSTC would provide him with the real-world experience he believed he needed to make his college application portfolio complete.
“I really enjoy my programming class and I’ve learned a lot more here,” said Zarzycki. “It’s a lot more hands on and I learn better hands on, so it helps.”
It would appear that Zarzycki’s venture paid off.
This fall, Zarzycki is attending the University of Michigan on a full-ride scholarship.
“When I went on the (college) tours, I was actually praised for going to OSTC. They told me I had already gotten a jump start on college life and was better prepared than other freshmen,” said Zarzycki.
Moreover, this year, Zarcycki participated in an AccelerateKID opportunity. AccelerateKID teaches students in grades K-8 the latest STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) education. Zarzycki’s teacher Michael Wesner brought representatives from AccelerateKID, which is one of OSTC’s many business partners, into his classroom and those representatives trained OSTC computer programming students on how to teach code to middle and elementary school-age children.
“Max picked it up right away and was one of our team leaders,” said Wesner.
Not only did Zarzycki excel at the program, but AcceleratKID offered him a paid summer internship.
“You get so many opportunities attending OSTC,” said Zarzycki.
Sarah Davis is the communications specialist at Oakland Schools.