In the Winter 2018 magazine, we were proud to report on REACH Science Saturdays, an enrichment program led by Regis students for the benefit of REACH students. Inspired in part by the success of that laboratory science program, a different group of Regis students designed “Coding Saturdays” for REACH students interested in computer programming. Luka Pusic ’19, had helped with Science Saturdays and thought “this would be a logical continuation of that program. It also builds on the REACH curriculum, which teaches basic coding to 6th graders and robotics to 7th graders.”
Over the course of four Saturdays during the spring REACH semester five of Luka’s fellow Regians—Logan Boyce ’19, Matthew Gomez ’19, Ethan Graber ’20, Aleks Petukhov ’19, and Michael Valverde ’19—joined him to teach REACH students how to design a website from scratch. They are instructing students in two coding languages: HTML and CSS. By teaching in the coding languages directly, rather than using a web design program, the lessons emphasize the problem-solving and logical reasoning skills inherent to computer programming and applicable to so many other fields. Logan Boyce pointed out, “We thought this class was a great idea because computer science is good for teaching problem solving, and it’s a valuable skill for the future because technology is a growing industry.”
Doug Eickman ’05, Dean of Mathematics for the REACH Program, says, “It’s great to give Regis students an opportunity to share something they’re really good at and passionate about. For the REACH kids, it’s always valuable to challenge them with new material, and also to have them interact with high school students who are bright, engaging, and potential role models.”
Even though the REACH Saturday school-day is already intense—beginning at 9:00 a.m. with morning chapel, followed by two hours of class, and an hour-long study hall—students interested in coding were eager to stay after school to take part in this special program. Mr. Eickman continued, “The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Upon announcing this program, we had emails from 60 parents expressing interest. There was so much interest, we couldn’t accommodate everyone on the first go around, which shows the value of continuing and expanding programs like this and the Science Saturdays.” The REACH students are enjoying the course, and they’re excited to show their websites to their parents.