Eighth grade students from Green Bank Elementary-Middle School and Marlinton Middle School converged on Pocahontas County High School last Thursday to participate in the first – hopefully, annual – Coding Day.
Organized by math and computer science teachers Laurel Dilley and Jennifer Nail-Cook, the day was an opportunity for PCHS computer science students to show the eighth graders everything they can expect to learn in computer science and robotics classes when they become high school students.
“The point of today is for it to be fun and try some new things,” Dilley said. “Today is about getting information and excitement about coding, computer science, robotics and STEM out to the entire county.”
During the afternoon, the eighth graders were led by the computer science students through stations on the topics of coding, robotics, computer science and unplugged, the latter of which was about learning binary code.
Before they broke out into groups, Dilley and Nail-Cook addressed the students, welcoming them to the computer science field and wishing them luck on the day’s activities.
“Today is about trying something new,” Dilley said. “It might be frustrating, it might be kind of scary or weird. Just jump in there and try it. We think you’re going to have a lot of fun today.”
“We are really excited for you guys to be here for the first of, hopefully, many days in years to come, and we hope that some of you guys want to take these courses next year,” Nail-Cook added.
While the teachers were on-hand during the day, the computer science students were the ones who were in charge of the event. They organized the lessons and led the eighth graders through the sessions, imparting their own wisdom and experiences in the field.
“We’ve done a lot of preparation,” sophomore Taylor Arnold said.
As a female student in a male dominated field, Arnold said she hopes to show young girls that there is a place for them in computer science, and they can gain a lot from the program.
“Part of it, for me, is there’s only a couple girls that do CS and, since I really like it, I could be an inspiration for younger girls,” she said.
Fellow sophomore Florian Baudler said he hopes the eighth grade students come away from the day with an understanding of how important computer science is, as well as realizing how much fun they can have in the class.
“I hope they see that it’s pretty cool and want to join next year,” he said.
Most students who take computer science in high school tend to continue their studies in college and seek a career using the skills they’ve learned, but some simply take the class because it’s fun, interesting and different. And while they may not seek a career in the field, the things they learn from the class can be applied to the careers they do choose.
“I plan to go into the Air Force for military police, but they said that some of the job roles I could do are engineering or coding,” senior Zac Miller said. “I don’t really plan on doing that. I’m just dong this for fun.”
Arnold and Baudler are of the same mindset. Arnold plans to be an art teacher and Baudler said he may do something with computer science in the future, but isn’t sure at this time.
“It’s going to be an important subject in coming years,” he said.
Regardless of what the students choose to do in the future, they all agree that computer science is a great course to take for students who are interested in learning something new and unique.
Leave a Reply