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Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak visits, praises TVHS



Woz in a labIt is perhaps fitting that students at a school focused on technology, science and math met on their first day of school one of the pioneers of 20th and 21st century technology.

Apple Computer co-founder Steve “Woz” Wozniak paid a visit to Tech Valley High School on Thursday, touring the school, meeting students, faculty and fellow business supporters of TVHS, and answering questions during a 90-minute stop at the East Greenbush campus.

"I wish I were a high school student today. I would have given anything to get into a school like this" said Wozniak during a tour of the 121-student school that was led by students.

During the tour, Wozniak visited the EYP Fab Lab, learned about projects the students undertake and learned how students learn core concepts and 21st century skills by doing, rather than reading - a fact that seemingly impressed Wozniak, who was once a teacher.

"There is so much doing here as opposed to reading a book," he said. "That's important because I was a teacher for eight years I found that content is less important than coming up with ways to inspire kids to want to learn."

Dan speakingHe also added that "everything I am seeing here makes learning fun."

Wozniak, who was joined on the tour of the school by Peter Schultz, who created fiber optic cables, also met with members of the school's Business Alliance and leaders of the local high-tech sector.

John Tobin of EYP, an architecture and engineering firm, told Wozniak that his business supports TVHS because its a "win-win" situation. "We need to make the workforce of the future available to us."

Wozniak praised the school's cutting edge technology, such as its three-dimensional printer and CNC machine through which students create designs that are then manufactured for their projects.

Steve Speaks"I really, really enjoy using the CNC machine and seeing my designs come to life," said student Jesse Hunziker from Hoosic Valley, as he described the technology to Wozniak.

During a question-and-answer session with the student body, the Apple Computers co-founder fielded questions on everything from his appearance on the TV show Dancing with the Stars to how Apple Computer's logo came to be. He also spoke about the inequality he sees in educational funding and how he foresees a future in which every student has a computer that serves as a teacher and guides the educational process on an individualized level.

Wozniak also urged the students to continue to think outside the box and to keep working on solutions to problems that don't exist.

He noted that the Internet wasn't designed to be a brain, but has slowly evolved over time to be a brain.

"We used to ask professors or highly educated people questions. Now when we need an answer, we punch the question into" Google. "It wasn't designed to answer questions. It was designed to locate and connect, but it evolved."

The technology innovation legend was in the area to aid a favorite charity of his - Peaceful Acres Horses Inc., which is located in Schenectady County. His trip was being sponsored by Global Foundries.

"This was an unbelievable opportunity for our students, for all of us," said Principal Dan Liebert. "To say we are excited about having Mr. Wozniak here would be an understatement."

"It was a fantastic opportunity for everyone. What a way to start the school year," said TVHS Business Alliance member and businessperson John Corey.

Besides Tobin, Schultz and Corey, joining Wozniak on the tour of TVHS were Capital Region BOCES and Questar III BOCES District Superintendents Charles Dedrick and James Baldwin, John Cavalier, chairman emeritus of the TVHS Foundation, Rod Bascom, president of Clough Harbor and Associates, Kishor Bagul, CTO of New York State, Tony Hynes, president of Precision Valve and Automation (PVA), Bob Blackman, chairman of the board for the Center for Economic Growth and Realty USA, Mike Russo of Global Foundries, Paul Fahey of Zone 5, Eileen Lindburg of CB Richard Ellis and Todd Mosher, president of Zone 5.

TVHS was founded in 2007 by Capital Region and Questar III BOCES and provides students with the skills necessary to be successful in college and in tomorrow’s workforce. The theme of the school is a strong emphasis on math, science and technology, however the reality is that students receive a well-rounded education that will prepare them to compete in the growing high tech and global economy that is emerging in Capital Region’s Tech Valley.

For more on TVHS, click here.