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School News

Over 165 high school students took part in Thomas Jefferson High School’s first ever Hour of Code on Tuesday, December 5, 2017.

The event, titled ‘Cocoa, Cupcakes and Code,’ was organized by Wendy Matta, a science teacher at the high school, to encourage more students to take computer programming classes. The event was held in support of the global Hour of Code movement ( which encourages educators to organize an Hour of Code event during December 4-10, 2017.

Students had the opportunity to learn basic Python programming skills and/or participate in activities geared for more advanced users. By the end of the event, students spent at least one hour learning about Python programming while using geometry to instruct a turtle to draw a snowflake. Computer science club students were on hand to help and offer guidance to those in need.

As students sipped their cocoa and enjoyed their cupcakes, they learned more about programming from 2014 TJ alum and special guest presenter, Ritwik Gupta. Ritwik demonstrated some of his new apps for the iPad that allow users to estimate their stress level and heart rate using the device’s camera. Ritwik is currently a machine learning researcher at the Carnegie Mellon University SEI Emerging Technology Center, where he works on novel applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence in the areas of imagery, health, and adversarial learning. He and fellow CMU colleague Hollen Barmer also shared their work on facial expression recognition software.

Special prizes were awarded every fifteen minutes as the students honed their computer programming skills. The entire event was a sweet success.


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