Nearly 200 high school students took part in Thomas Jefferson High School’s Hour of Code 2.0 on Dec. 6, 2018. The event entitled “Do you want to CODE a Snowman?” was organized by science teacher Wendy Matta and a large committee of faculty and staff members to encourage more students to take computer programming classes. The event was held in support of the global Hour of Code movement (www.hourofcode.com) which encourages educators to organize an Hour of Code event during Dec. 3-9, 2018.

This year, students had the opportunity to learn how to code in JavaScript with the help of a Khan Academy tutorial and participate in additional computer science learning sessions led by TJHS alumni. By the end of the event, students spent at least one hour learning about JavaScript programming to code a snowman. Computer science and STEM club students donned specially-designed snowman shirts and were on hand to help participants with coding and escort them to alumni learning sessions.

Alumni presentations included: Chris Ganas, cybersecurity, PaloAlto Networks; John Ha, website and application development, Computer Enterprises, Inc.; Ritwik Gupta, CMU Software Engineering Institute in AI and machine learning; Barry Skirble, Director of Point of Care Software Development, Bayer Pharmaceuticals/Radiology; and Srikanth Mruthik, head of software development, Bayer Contrast Injectors, Bayer Pharmaceuticals/Radiology.

Tables in the high school cafeteria were transformed into giant letters spelling HOC with cupcakes, java supplied by Coffee Tree Roasters, snow-themed music, and a snowman for photo ops courtesy of TJHS Math Teacher Greg Erdely. The event also featured a Pixel Prize Wall with special prizes awarded every fifteen minutes as the students honed their JavaScript programming skills. The new Life Skills class cut all the squares for the Pixel Prize Wall, helped bake cupcakes for the event, and served refreshments to attendees.