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Langston Hughes Students Take Part in Computer Science Week Hour of Code

More than 30 students learn basics of computer programming at GEMS Club event.

Students at Langston Hughes Middle School take part in the Hour of Code Thursday, Dec. 12. (Photo by Alex McVeigh)
Students at Langston Hughes Middle School take part in the Hour of Code Thursday, Dec. 12. (Photo by Alex McVeigh)
Computer programming is one of the fastest-growing professions around the world. President Barack Obama kicking off Computer Science Education Week Sunday, Dec. 8 by saying, "Don't just play on your phone, program it."

The Girls Excelling in Math and Science Club hosted a Computer Science Education Week event at Langston Hughes Middle Schools Thursday, Dec. 12, taking part in the Hour of Code. 

Hour of Code is a program designed to help students get an early grasp on the basics of coding, as told through popular mobile games such as Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies.

"The Hour of Code events are going on all over the world, in 176 countries," said Franklin Kyle, after school specialist at Langston Hughes. "Coding is the future, it gives people the power to not just use a computer, but to get a computer to do what you want it to do."

Two South Lakes High School Advanced Programming students visited the school to share their experiences with more than 30 students. The group was made up of mostly girls, but several boys were in attendance, in the spirit of inclusiveness. 

"It's great to see so many girls interested in computer programming, because we're definitely an underrepresented group in the computer field," said Karla Portillo, a senior at South Lakes. "Hopefully this event gave the students an introduction to something they hadn't done before. It's meant to introduce coding in a fun and friendly environment, so they can see how easy it is to learn."

South Lakes junior Alex Sedgwick says she hoped the event would dispel some myths about coding being an impossibly difficult task. 

"I started taking computer classes when I went to school here, and it really opened up my mind," she said. "I hope the students saw that, like anything else you want to learn, you take it step-by-step and work your way into doing bigger and better things."

Selwyn Lawrence, a business teacher at South Lakes, explained it to the students. 

"First you figure out what you don't know, then we show you how to do it, and you repeat until you know what you're doing," he said. "Then you move up one level. They key is to keep challenging yourself."

More information about Hour of Code can be found here, and more information about Girls Excelling at Math and Science can be found here


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