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Code the Future: The Magic of McMahon’s Coding Community


System.out.println(“When many people think of coding, they think of extreme boredom from typing and only the best of the best programmers. This is simply not true.

Here at McMahon, our Computer Science Department is as diverse as it can be. Full of numerous courses, internships, competitions, and a fun club, there is so much that people don’t know about McMahon’s coding community, including how it is the largest CompSci Pathway in CT! 

Starting in 9th grade, you can take Computer Science 1 and then move on to Computer Science 2 within the next year. There is also a semester course in Computational Logic where you dive into the “verification of hardware and software, programming languages, databases, and Artificial Intelligence.” 

Following that, students can take AP-level Computer Science courses in either A or Principles which entail a more rigorous course load and different coding languages from Javascript to Java and so on. 

Ms. Medina, one of the AP teachers, believes that when it comes to computer science “there are two schools of thought: learn concepts first and then learn coding, and the other school of thought says the opposite. High school students learn best when they are doing something active so our program starts with programming and builds programming skills and leads into concepts. Now some people think coding is nothing and that it’s not a technical skill, but it actually teaches students how to think analytically in a way where they have to produce a result.” This is what these classes focus on and through this students can apply what they learn to their future occupations. The college credit earned from the AP exams can then be used in college to further careers in engineering, video game design, and cybersecurity as well as other general studies, so it is worth a shot at learning code. 

Outside of courses, McMahon provides many internship opportunities for aspiring coders. Current examples include the current alliance with Lockheed Martin, a defense contracting company. Here students “attend meetings and seminars, and work on team projects such as VDI testing and data visualizations.” as quoted by Caroline McClung. 

These internships also focus on more simple things such as “laptop clean-up efforts to gather lost and stolen devices.” This allows students to learn a lot about the tech world itself and visualize themselves as future business professionals.

Additionally, Lockheed Martin hosts the CodeQuest and CyberQuest competitions for us annually. Students team up to solve many programming challenges over the course of two hours for a chance to win a trophy and the opportunity to apply for their internships. We currently have a six-time winner team! Go us!

Aside from all the technicalities of the coding world (pun intended), students have formed a close bond through their love of this unique language. Every Wednesday, coders and non-coders, join together in room 2065, for the Feral Karels Coding Club! They binge on snacks, laugh over jokes, share about their day, and code. It’s a welcoming place for anyone who happens to walk into the wrong room. 

You’ll always find someone working on the 3D printer – probably printing out a Karel – or drawing on the smart board. Karel is the symbol of CodeHS – the coding program we use at McMahon. He is a cute little dog with a fun personality! 

One thing that is unique about Feral Karels though is that they combine the GenZ use of TikTok with their knowledge of CompSci and create unique videos to share with the world. If you don’t understand computer language, then following will make everything make sense!

Talking with Coding Club Co-President, Sofia Skarupa, she states that joining the club “was a good avenue to take and that it expanded my knowledge outside of what I already know. Like, I never thought I would learn how to do this so it’s very empowering. I met many new people and learned that struggle makes you stronger.” This just enhances the fact that you don’t need to be a coder to be part of the coding-verse and that computer science can make you grow and discover new interests. And if you have struggles, which you will, one of our best Computer Science teachers, Ms. Medina, offers extra help for coding after school during Coding Club. We always make sure no one is left behind!

Ms. Medina is who we can thank for all of the technical opportunities provided for McMahon. Always motivated and ready to help her students, she feels that “The joy these students get from actually completing a program, testing a program, and expanding their knowledge in that way, is incredible. I have students who possibly aren’t the best of students and once they get into coding class they are successful, they feel success and the excitement of learning. And when they get out of college, whether they go into computer science or not, they’re ready, … they can solve problems because they know how to think.” 

Having teachers like this to fuel our drive to become better learners and people, will lead us to our accomplishments. Ms. Medina proves that coding provides so much more than anyone can imagine. To lock in this kind of future for yourself, stop by Coding Club or take a Computer Science class to learn the language of your fellow Senators! Code on!”); 


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About the Contributor
Ava Massucco, Editor
Hi! My name is Ava and I am in charge of the Entertainment section of the McMahon Archive. I tend to write articles about food, movies, and other pop-culture things! I'm also a part of various clubs such as Twilight Club (re-branding as Pop-Culture Club), Italian Club, Coding Club, and Key Club.  I do enjoy reading a good book as well as working on my garden. If you ever need a recipe, a book recommendation, or help with anything, I'll always be available to help!

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