This article was published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on April 13, 1998 in the Personal Technology Section. It highlights a high school project that Jack’s son, Jordan, completed:
Jordan, 17, loves computers. But when summer rolls around, don’t even mention them – he’d rather be on water skis.
“I can do computers any time, but water skiing has a short season.” says Deschene, who can slalom-ski, wake-board, trick-ski, and knee-board. “On nice days, you want to be outside.”
As the leaves begin turning, however, he’ll return to the family computers (seven Windows-based PCs and three Macintosh machines along with two printers, at last count).
Deschene, a junior at Champlin Park High School, has stunned his science teacher by assembling a corporate-style local-area network in his home. Ethernet cables and devices called routers interconnect all the computers, which Deschene can control from his LAN nerve center (actually, his brother’s room while the sibling is away at college) in the basement.
During mischievous moments, he startles his mother by making an upstairs computer play loud music.
She’s inclined to be forgiving because she never has to wait for internet access. No one in the Deschene household does. The local computer whiz has rigged the LAN so multiple machines (such as Mom’s MAC and Dad’s PC) can simultaneously get online using a single phone line.
Deschene’s teacher, Geri Nelson, was so impressed with the LAN earlier this year that she predicted the project would qualify for the state science fair competition. She, the student and his parents were all shocked when he didn’t make it past a regional competition.
They believe the local judges didn’t grasp the technical magnitude of what he had accomplished, something his teacher calls a “travesty”.
But the teen has another, possibly better shot at greatness – he’s entering the LAN in the upcoming Student Technology Expo in St. Paul on May 16. The project has already drawn praise from expo organizer Marilyn Nelson.
Deschene has tackled other networking projects. He and his father Jack, who works at a local Compaq office, recently helped a friend equip her newly built home with multiple phone lines and LAN-style connectivity. “Jordan did all the final wiring and testing,” the proud dad says.
"Jordan is an interesting kid," Geri Nelson remarks. "His learning is different. He likes to zero in on one thing and do nothing else. He has enormous energy. It's fascinating to watch him methodically solve problems. He has an incredibly quick mind."