Sean Wrona

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C-NS:

I went to school in the North Syracuse Central School District. I was one of the more unusual students there as I started out in all the special education classes (resource, speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and adaptive physical education) while simultaneously being one of the more successful students academically in the school district. I have Asperger's Syndrome but it was little known during my childhood and undiagnosed until 2014. In middle school, I was fully integrated into all the regular classes and became generally known for my math abilities as I set the record on my middle school's honors math entrance exam and answered math problems (usually two by two multiplication problems) in the school hallways for fellow students, which I would usually be able to do in ten seconds or less. I even received my first mentions on the Internet for high scores on the New York State math contest here and here; the latter year I was tied for 22nd among New York seventh-graders on the test (although to be fair there were many schools that did not compete in this contest.) In junior high school, I was the co-editor-in-chief of Horizons Literary Magazine (where I designed its logo and typed most of the material singlehandedly), the 1999 district spelling bee champion, and sixth in the 1999 Syracuse regional spelling bee. In high school, I participated in the National Honor Society, student government, and most notably math league. I led the school's math league team in scoring in both 2002 and 2003, was one of three co-winners of the spelling bee-style "Buzz Contest" at the 2002 Onondaga County Math League meet, won the math department award at graduation, and was the first C-NS student to qualify for an Onondaga County Math Teachers' Association award since 1994. I also was a Commended Student in the National Merit Scholarship program, an AP Scholar with Distinction, and won the award for best Java student in 2002 and the Academic Award from the Plank Road Chamber of Commerce in 2003. I was ranked 11th of 595 graduates in my class.

Outside class:

Besides my racing, Scrabble, and typing obsessions, I always had numerous other projects I was doing periodically. My longest-term obsession by far was collecting any kind of data. I read World Almanacs voraciously and as the World Wide Web developed I compiled data from plenty of online sources as well. I most frequently covered demographics and population statistics, but also collected data on music, politics, and sports (usually auto racing, but occasionally other sports). In college I attempted to use Facebook to calculate which college majors and musical preferences were associated with certain political affiliations (before Facebook allowed people to make completely free responses to most profile questions.) In my very early childhood, I invented an imaginary planet called Susper which had not merely imaginary friends, but entire school classes, word games, online services, fictional racing series with made-up drivers which were virtually always loose caricatures of then-notable racing drivers, and even a fictional librarian. Because I spent way too many hours a day either in front of the computer or using my mother's scientific calculator before I was even in preschool, I was highly proficient in computers for my age. I read DOS manuals obsessively when I was four to the point that I had memorized most of the dates, times, and file sizes for most of the system tools and applications bundled with DOS, in addition to learning how to type in this period. My parents were rather afraid that in my experimentation that I might format the hard drive, so they renamed format.com to fivemat.com. I didn't get the pun, but I did figure it out based on the file size. However, I did have enough sense to not format the hard drive. Playing with my mom's calculator led me to have experiences with e, pi, trigonometric functions, and probably factorials long before I had any idea what they actually represented. I used the calculator so frequently that I can still to this day recite all the powers of 2 from 2 to 67,108,664. My parents had a couple reference books that covered Roman numerals and non-decimal bases to the point that I would count out loud in Roman numerals during entire car trips and I started discovering bases other than decimal, octal, hexademical, or binary when I was in elementary school. I also observed around the same time that the differences between perfect squares increased by two, not realizing that this was a clear result of the power rule in calculus, of which I was completely ignorant. These experiences would eventually help shape my life ambitions in data collection, data analysis, and archival work.