2021 Emmett Comer Scholarship Winner – Brandon Wolenetz

I began homeschooling six years ago, in my 7th grade year. Public school for me was not a good option. I did not feel it provided the opportunity to progress the way I wanted. With the help of my parents, I was able to take my education into my own hands through Co-op and Digipen Homeschool Academy. This helped propel me into a future at Digipen that will give me the tools that I need to further my passion for computer game development.

Homeschooling was an adjustment but I quickly found ways to take ownership of my education. I began through Co-op, where the small classroom setting with similarly motivated individuals and relaxed atmosphere made school exciting and fun. I then began a class at Digipen, which at the time was just beginning to launch courses for homeschoolers. Attending Digipen was even more exciting: I had finally found a group of people I could really relate to.

By the time I hit my high school years I already had experience with C++ and advanced math. Had I stayed in public school I would not have had the opportunity to fast track math, and I believe school would have been boring to me. I enrolled in the Digipen Homeschool Game Development Academy for both year one and two. My passions increased as I learned about game design, art and more of C++. I was able to serve as the technical director for each of the final projects[1] [2] and I was in charge of writing a substantial portion of the code. By the time I was a sophomore, I had learned about trigonometry, vectors and matrix transformations in a context that was directly related to game development. In my Junior year I was able to attend Digipen as a homeschooled 2nd year WANIC student.

Homeschooling has really set me up for success. It gave me the flexibility to create a number of personal projects. In 2019-2020, I worked on a 2D graphics engine that could render over 900 objects at once while supporting shadows and post-processing effects[3]. In 2019, I developed a program that uses software rasterization to render 3D objects using text in a terminal[4]. In 2017, I experimented with a simple network chat system based on network sockets[5]. When Covid lockdowns began, the transition from in person classes to online classes was fairly smooth. My senior year gave me the opportunity to focus on obtaining a commercial drone license and teaching my younger brother C++. I’ve also been admitted to Digipen Institute of Technology for next fall.

Homeschooling has been a great experience. I have appreciated the range of learning opportunities and the freedom that comes with it. I believe that through my homeschool experience I was able to achieve so much more outside of a traditional classroom. I’m thankful for the last six years that have driven me to achieve my dream of attending Digipen as a college student, which will allow me to have new learning opportunities.


[1] W.C.D., The Sparce, (2016-2017), GitHub repository, https://github.com/iMajesticButter/WCD

[2] Knights of the Round Table, Island of Potato, (2017-2018), GitHub repository, https://github.com/DigiPen-Game-Development-Academy/Knights-of-the-Round-Table

[3] Brandon Wolenetz, CrabGraphicsEngine, (2019-2021), GitHub repository, https://github.com/iMajesticButter/CrabGraphicsEngine

[4] Brandon Wolenetz, TrmGraphics, (2019), GitHub repository, https://github.com/iMajesticButter/TrmGraphics

[5] Brandon Wolenetz, Chat, (2017), GitHub repository, https://github.com/iMajesticButter/Chat