• May 1, 2024

    USCHS students host fifth grade coding camp

    Spark Students into STEM ClubTen Upper St. Clair High School students are revisiting their middle school to share their interest in computer programming. The students are all members of the Spark Students into STEM Club.

    The Club offered a free, three-week Creative Computing Camp for Boyce Middle School fifth graders and the camp quickly reached its enrollment capacity of 24. Students meet after-school in the Boyce library from 3:35-5 p.m. for three consecutive Fridays – April 19, April 26 and May 3.

    Spark Students into STEM Club members include seniors Amanda Aidar, Ian Kirk and Maeryn Mannix; juniors Sam Berger, Nishma Ghimire, Ryan Hyatt, Meredith Huzjak, Ryan LaRocco and Mia Manalo; and sophomore Tahir Disbudak. The club receives guidance from advisers Dawn Mostowy, biology teacher, and Steve Miller, math teacher. In addition, Lin Dietiker serves at a parent volunteer for the after-school computing camp.

    The high school students are teaching the fifth graders about coding using resources available via code.org.

    “We strive to make coding engaging and accessible, and we aim to provide the fifth graders with a solid foundation in basic coding principles,” Amanda said. “We are also helping them to develop problem-solving, critical thinking and creativity skills.”

    In addition to sharing their interest in computer programming, the after-school computer camp provides valuable opportunities for the high school students to practice and demonstrate their own leadership skills.

    “The high school students love to share their passion of programming and want kids to know that programming can come in all shapes and sizes and enjoyed by all ages,” Mrs. Mostowy said. “It is impressive to watch our high school students use their leadership skills to guide the fifth graders through the activities.”

    The high school club held similar coding camps for fourth graders at Streams and Baker elementary schools last year. They hope to make the camp an annual event.

    In addition to the three-week Creative Computing Camp, the Spark Students into STEM Club recently hosted a STEM Teachers Breakfast. Teachers from several STEM-related disciplines participated in round-table discussions with students. Each teacher was assigned a table and students rotated every seven minutes.

    Participating teachers included Amanda Haas, math; Corinne Newman, chemistry; Tracy Smith, robotics; Russ Hoburg, chemistry; Steve Miller, math and computer science; Clayton Yonker, physics; and Dawn Mostowy, biology. They discussed their respective career path, different opportunities they have experienced, and their educational background. The breakfast event was open to all students considering a STEM-related career.