CJHS Computer Coding Students Speak At Rotary Club Meeting
By Tina Suarez-
Centralia Rotary Club held their weekly meeting on May 6. The speakers were Don Ford, Director of Technology for the Centralia City School District and three students who participated in the Centralia Junior High Computer Coding Competition: Connor Loeb, Lucas Reed, and Kaden King. Mr. Ford started the presentation with information about computer science and how it affects us and many professions of today. Computer Science affects every field of commerce:
• In healthcare — Computing is part of operating rooms every day and it is enabling breakthroughs like contact lenses that detect levels of insulin for people with diabetes.
• In space — We now depend on a generation of robots to explore where humans can’t go.
• In our homes — We are automating everyday things like our heating and cooling systems.
• On our roads — We depend on navigation systems to get us home and now we are experimenting with bringing self-driving cars into our everyday lives.
• In entertainment — Blockbuster movies depend on computer science to bring new characters to life and provide us new completely animated worlds (Think about Avatar).
• And every single day this trend is growing across every single industry.
Computer Science is not just about learning technology, instead it’s more about logic, problem-solving, and creativity. It’s not only technology companies in California who are hiring computer programmers, it’s every industry that is desperately trying to hire computer programmers everywhere.
Computer programmers make good money. Per the Brookings Institution, the lifetime earnings of a high school graduate are $.58 million, a college graduate $1.19 million, and a computer science major $1.67 million. In fact, computing jobs are the #1 source of new wages in the United States and are projected to increase at twice the rate of all other jobs. Not only that, but, when asked, students said they enjoyed their Computer Science classes more than any others but Performing Arts and Art and Design.
Connor, Lucas, and Kaden are all in Ms. Bishop’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) class. STEAM classes are required for all Centralia Junior High students and all 8th graders are given a chance to participate in this competition. All three were involved in a Computer Coding competition in the local school district. Of more than 48 entries, Connor and Lucas worked together on a project developing an iPhone-type block game in Java Script language for the computer, while Caden placed as a runner-up with a different type of game. The 125 lines of code for Connor and Lucas’ cube game involved managing “Sprites” and “Spawns,” which are visual blocks and the generation of those blocks on a screen. Additionally, they had to develop, within those lines of code, the parameters for winning the game, have the game recognize those parameters (for example, moving the on-screen blocks to certain portions of the screen), and give a “Win” screen.
Rotary is hoping to work with Mr. Ford and the school system to host more of these competitions in the future and gave Connor, Lucas, and Kaden their congratulations.
Centralia Rotary Club President Tina Suarez, students Connor Loeb, Lucas Reed, Kaden King and Centralia City Schools Technology Director Don Ford.