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The student news site of Amador Valley High School


The student news site of Amador Valley High School


The student news site of Amador Valley High School


Girls Who Code host fifth annual Summit for middle and elementary schoolers

Maximilien Kiyoi
The over 150 participants and mentors gathered for a photo to commemorate their experience at the summit.

On Saturday, March 9th, Amador Valley’s Girls Who Code Club (GWC) held its fifth annual Summit. Over 150 elementary and middle school girls came to learn coding with different projects. Some activities included programing chat bots and learning about virtual reality.

“If you introduce [coding] through interactive games or working with other students, it’s really easy to enjoy coding. A lot of the girls here learn though creative methods and learning with friends…if they learn [coding] through this method [girls] will be more inclined to continue in the future,” said Head Summit Coordinator Clara Yin (‘24).

While computer science teacher Kevin Kiyoi is the club advisor, the event was mainly managed and planned by the students. The theme for 2024’s summit was ‘Level Up,’ and GWC mentors wore Super Mario hats while teaching girls how to program their own minigames. 

The day opened with guest speaker Dana Ding’s speech about the meaning of being a woman in STEM. Ding shared her experience as the only female software engineer in her team at Meta, an innovation and media company. Many other STEM professionals also came to share their stories.

“Diversity provides potential for more innovation [from] different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. If you don’t see representation in the field… where you want to pursue a career in the future, it can be really daunting and intimidating to try to pursue that career,” said Ding.

Participants worked on human-computer interactions throughout the day, enjoying a collaborative environment without the pressure of being perfect while learning. Anyone was welcome to attend and learn at the summit.

“It was a really good experience to finally become a mentor for the GWC summit after having gone to all five of the summits as a student. It was a really full-circle moment to finally be able to teach the children,” said GWC mentor Elissa Jimerson (‘27)

After exploring virtual reality with Meta Oculus headsets, the day ended with a parent showcase and awards ceremony to honor the girls’ hard work. Computer science is a highly desirable skill set in today’s society, and summit participants took a first step into it at an early age.

“Right now, the state of California is looking at legislations to have computer science be a graduation requirement for all students. Events like this summit and the Girls Who Code organization have a fundamental role in that,” said Director of Career Pathways & Adult Learning Dr. Amos Nugent III

However, learning about computer science was not the only benefit for the community. The event was fully non-profit, with the only donation opportunity being to Little Miracles, a group that supports families all over the Tri-Valley with baby essentials.

“Whether or not you want to pursue STEM, you should not let your gender affect or stop you from pursuing your interests,” said Ding

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  • Mentors Isabelle Brase (‘24) and Misha Garg (‘24) test the Oculus virtual reality headsets to ensure they are working properly.

  • Elementary and middle school girls learn how to code chatbot programs from their Girls Who Code mentor.

  • Mentors such as Amy Yang (‘25) wore Super Mario or Luigi hats to match the 2024 summit’s theme: ‘Level Up.’

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