Age doesn’t discriminate when it comes to being a tech guru.
For 8-year-old Aiden Johnson of Port Angeles, he’s showing students and seniors that computers can bring anyone together.
Aiden said he was having trouble last summer fixing a computer, so his grandpa Lynn Johnson of Sequim offered to bring him to the Shipley Center’s Computer Clinic (1 p.m. Mondays for members) for help.
There he met Jim Hurley with the Sequim PC Users Group leading Lynn to contact the president Tom LaMure about Aiden possibly joining. LaMure replied — anyone can join — even 8-year-olds.
And over the summer, Aiden jumped right in with the PC Users Group’s Tech Shop working Monday and Wednesday mornings readying computers for individuals and groups in-need.
“He’s matured more dealing with adults,” Lynn said. “They’re almost all seniors and very highly skilled people. Aiden gets right in there and tells them his piece. They treat him so nicely and are really respectful. They’ve been very, very supportive of Aiden.”
Last summer, Aiden lost his dad, Brandon Carter.
Aiden’s mom, Kathleen Carter, didn’t want to break routine, so family members worked with the school to allow him to continue going to the Tech Shop twice a week.
“He’s really thriving there,” Kathleen said. “It’s helped him a lot. He’s constantly learning.”
Aiden, a third grader at Roosevelt Elementary in Port Angeles, is a part of The Ridge, the school’s Highly Capable program for accelerated learners with curriculum designed for each student by certified teachers.
Lynn said his grandson is reading and doing math at a seventh grade level and has been honored as a Student of the Month as a first and second grader.
Hurley said he’s impressed the school lets Aiden come to the Tech Shop.
“You don’t normally find something like this in a public school,” he said.
Along with his time refurbishing computers, Aiden helped boot up his school’s new Computer Club.
LaMure suggested to him and fellow PC Users Group members to start a club at Roosevelt.
Aiden’s teacher, Lambert Grimes, stepped in to host the class and 25 students expressed interest with space for 10 starting in October.
Hurley said he and fellow PC User club member Dick Wolf brought in five Dell desktops for students to learn and work on for about an hour twice a week through Nov. 8.
Students put operating systems on the computers, learned about installing hardware and more.
Grimes said the after-school club is a great outlet for students.
“They took them all apart and back together in an hour and they all worked,” she said.
Hurley and Wolf helped guide the students, and Aiden helped out too during the club.
His and other club members’ hope is that they can build computers and give them to students who don’t have one at home.
Tentatively, the class starts up again in January for 10 new students in grades 3-6 once a week for five sessions. Aiden will remain with the group as a facilitator, Grimes said.
Sister and brother Mia and Zach Neff, both sixth graders, said they’ve enjoyed taking computers apart and learning about them.
“We took apart a Dell. They’re pretty easy, and kids like to take things apart,” Mia said.
“(The class) was just kind of a fun thing,” Zach said.
Through his exploration, Aiden said he learned about 3-D printing and designed his own computer part.
Kathleen said Aiden’s interest in computers started about a year ago, which has grown immensely.
“He found some old parts and started to put them together,” she said.
Aiden started building up his own collection of older computers including Commodores too. He’s currently working on a computer to replace a floppy drive and restore it to its original Windows 95 operating system.
Through the Tech Shop, he’s also become a certified Microsoft refurbisher, and holds the goal to someday work for Microsoft.
Kathleen said his new interest has already opened up local job opportunities with people calling him to repair their computers.
For now, Aiden plans to continue going to the Tech Shop with his grandpa, and as a thank you for her support, Aiden built Grimes her own desktop for home. He presented it to her on the last club meeting of the year on Nov. 8. Grimes accepted on the condition he’d install it for her.
For more information, on the Sequim PC Users Group, visit spcug.net.
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.