High-schooler reaping ‘Karma’ with program _lowres

Photo provided -- Student Harlan Brian Milton Jr. created a discipline tracking software program called the ‘Karma System’ for Amite High School.

Harlan Brian Milton Jr., a former Hammond High School student who transferred to Amite High School, has started making his mark on AHS by pitching an innovative idea to the administration. After a conversation about discipline documentation management, Milton created a discipline-tracking software program for the school, officials said in a news release.

“When Harlan began to explain his idea to me, as an educator, I could not help but to think about tying his interests to world standards,” Principal Terran Perry said.

“Of course, his thoughts were probably that ‘Mr. Perry just wants me to brainstorm, revise drafts and verbally communicate these ideas to better assist Amite High,’ ” Perry said. “In actuality, being able to think as he does may not only help our school, but will ultimately assist Harlan when he faces the writing component of the ACT, and even more so, when he’s in his 20s articulating how he designed a mechanism that will assist the world in its fight against terrorism,” Perry explained. “My thoughts went from local to global, and this is how we want our students to think — big.”

Originally from Biloxi, Mississippi, Harlan started building computers at 7 years old. Since then, his experience with computers grew into a passion for creating computer programs. Five years ago, he began teaching himself the basics of programming by studying online content and videos. Although he does not have formal training, his ability to learn by teaching himself has reaped its benefits, the news release said.

Harlan started a programming company with a friend called BK Games. “Our first program was a puzzle game, where a character moved around a board,” Milton said. His interest in gaming, especially with games such as “Minecraft” and “World of Warcraft,” took him to the much more sophisticated venture of hosting three Canadian servers where individuals could purchase gigabytes of memory to host and play personal, group-based online games.

As a ninth-grade environmental science student at Hammond High, Milton and his group members completed an assignment requiring them to create a game to teach their science concepts to the class. Instead of creating a paper board game, he and the group created an online game. “My group members provided the creative aspects of the game, such as the story line, characters and the board concept,” Milton said. “My part was to organize the logical aspects of the game. I designed a game board extension, which involved the rolling of the dice, calculating the score and giving questions with a time limit.”

The “Karma System” program’s purpose is to efficiently organize and track student disciplinary actions, such as infractions or reward incentives, the news release said. The Karma System assigns point values to student behavior, whether positive or negative, the release said.

Milton plans to attend college in California, and said he hopes to get an internship at Microsoft or Google. His ultimate goal is to be the CEO of his own computer engineering company where he creates new computer technology, the release said.

“What is most impressive about Harlan’s accomplishments is the level of his thought process,” Perry said. “He does not just recall what he is taught. He initiates high-level thinking, which will assist him in reaching his full potential. This potential will undoubtedly benefit humanity.”