Supporting the SoLA Makers Society

<--- DEFINE:hacker --->
// An individual capable of solving complex non-intuitive problems in a seemingly intuitive manner. The processes and techniques used are not necessarily methodical to the observer, but yet achieve results significantly and consistently faster than known experience would predict. A hacker is not defined in terms of intention or purpose, but rather by the talented single-mindedness of method. //
Dear Friends of the Pensacola School of Liberal Arts,

My name is Josh Hutson. I am a hacker. I learned my art from the greatest hacker that never touched a computer, Mr. Wild Bill Holston, founder and headmaster of The Pensacola School of Liberal Arts. 

I graduated from Liberal Arts in 1993. Wild Bill and SOLA had such an incredible impact on my life as a student, as a thinker, and as a person, that for the last 25 years (holy crap is that number right?!) I have been trying to come up with something meaningful I could do to give back to the school that gave so much to me. I've donated money throughout the years but it always felt like an empty gesture. Something that Mr. Holston would certainly appreciate but would find mundane at the same time. I'm an artist who creates art by welding cut masonry nails together. I always wanted to teach the kids about welding but couldn't come up with a practical way to do it in the time or space available.

Well, inspiration finally struck yesterday. I knew that SoLA still doesn't have much of an IT program and it occurred to me that I could easily introduce and teach the basics of Arduino to the students in a few hours one morning. It also occurs to me that I need to quickly introduce you to Arduino as well. Quite simply Arduino is the future.
Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. Arduino boards are able to read inputs - light on a sensor, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message - and turn it into an output - activating a motor, turning on an LED, publishing something online. You can tell your board what to do by sending a set of instructions to the microcontroller on the board. They are inexpensive, easy to use, and a great way to learn about electronics at the most basic levels all the way to the unimaginably complicated. You've heard of the Internet of Things? Well, Arduino controls those "Things".

My original plan was, and still is whether I raise a dime with this campaign or not, to take some pieces and parts from my lab and go up to the school and give a couple of demonstrations of circuits and what they can do. I was going to buy a couple of starter kits like I began with and donate them to the school for the students to share. Now, I believe that this is an ok starting point but it's not perfect. What I think would be the best way to get the students involved and excited is to give each one of them their own Arduino Starter Kit and let me teach a workshop where they followalong with the circuits I was demonstrating and build their own in real time. Then they would be able to keep learning, creating, and making long after I was gone.

The best part about Arduino and electronics in general today is that they are ridiculously cheap. These $12 boards have more juice in them than $1000 machines did 10 years ago! Of course, you need more than just the board to get started and that's where the Elegoo EL-KIT-003 UNO Project Super Starter Kit for $35 on Amazon Prime comes in. This is the exact kit I bought when I decided to teach myself Arduino and it has everything you need to get interested in and to get in trouble with electrinics basics. 

There are currently 34 students enrolled at the Pensacola School of Liberal Arts. I would like to purchase 40 kits so each student could have their own kit to work from and the school could have a couple for the teachers and spare parts. 40 kits will cost $1400. I'm setting the campaign goal at $2000 so we could use the extra money to buy more advanced accessories like stepper motors, linear actuators, relay modules, sensor kits, and so forth, as the students progress.

I am really excited about this and would like to get these kits into the student's hands as quickly as possible. Please give what you can to sponsor a student. This $35 kit unlocks infinite future proof skills and possibilities for our fellow Spartans, and it makes you pretty cool as well!

Today is January 30, 2018.  I'd like to be able to be able to present this gift to the school by February 28th and teach an Intro to Arduino Workshop before they let out for Spring Break. Maybe we could sponsor the first ever SoLA MicroController Science Fair and see what they come up with over Spring Break! How cool would that be!?!

I thank you in advance, the school and the students will thank you, and I know Our Captain thanks you.

“Don't Let The Bastards Get You Down.” -William J. Holston
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Josh Hutson
Pensacola, FL

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