Westview High School students to run summer coding camp in August
Last year, Westview High School sophomores Nandini Chennupaty and Laurissa Larimer saw an opportunity to help their community by doing what they love: coding and helping out younger kids.
The two students hosted their first coding camp last year, during the summer after their freshman year. The camp became Cool Kids Who Code, which they ran out of Larimer's garage and worked with the school to make sure everyone had a computer.
"(The kids) were very happy to be there, and they had a really positive experience, which was really fulfilling to see them engage with the materials and see them have the positive interactions with coding, which is kind of technical, you know, so I thought it was a really great experience," Larimer said. "And I wanted to do it again, obviously."
Larimer said Chennupaty is more so the coding one, and she's the one who loves mentoring younger kids, so it was perfect for them to come together for this. Plus, they've been friends since fourth grade.
Not only did they both love the experience, but the kids did, too. Just with promoting it themselves, they have about 20 kids signed up already for each week, but Chennupaty said she'd like to get that up to 35 each week — 70 kids total.
One camper's mom told the two high-schoolers that she really appreciated that they were able to provide an in-person activity for her child in a COVID-safe environment. Plus, they broke it up into manageable chunks and provided snacks and breaks to make it even more fun.
Chennupaty also said she thinks it was good for the kids to see her and Larimer as their teachers.
"There aren't a lot of women in STEM, and there's a big gender gap, especially in computer science," Chennupaty said. "I think it was meaningful for the girls in our camp to see that it was a woman of color and two girls leading the camp to see that they could do it, too."
This summer — and hopefully in the years after — it'll be even better.
Kids ages 8 to 11 can choose between two weeks-long day camps — Aug. 8 to Aug. 12 or Aug. 22 to Aug. 26 — and pick either a beginner class that introduces kids to coding with a program called Turtle, or a more advanced Python class, depending on their experience.
The beginner classes will go from 9 a.m. to noon, and the advanced class from 1 to 4 p.m.
The class fee is $10 to cover the expense of snacks and a rental space — hopefully at a local library — but the fee can be waived for students if needed.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.