I taught a GirlsWhoCode summer immersion program in Los Angeles this summer for 20 high school girls. It was an amazing experience! At graduation I had to give a short speech. These girls cleared made an impact on me   🙂

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Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. That is one of the motivational quotes adorning the wall in our classroom.  It’s safe to say everyone of us started this program way out of our own comfort zones.

On day one, as everyone was side eyeing each other and wondering “who is the stranger sitting next to me?” we set the tone by creating a list of classroom rules. Included in this list were “Respect each other”, “no bad ideas” and “stay positive”. Since one of the goals of this program is to teach girls that coding can be fun, I was thrilled to hear a girl yell out “have a good time, party!

Learning to code is not a trivial task and there were many times when “have a good time” seemed out of reach. You may have heard how when a caterpillar makes a cocoon, the transformed butterfly must struggle to free itself. If it doesn’t struggle, it’s wings won’t be strong enough to fly away.

These girls coded their metamorphosis into butterflies working through Scratch, Python, C++, HTML, CSS and Javascript.  During the final project they struggled out of the cocoon, pushing themselves and *choosing* to learn even more on their own.

I would like to share with you some of the things I heard them say through this process.

“Adding the music was pretty easy. it only took two lines of code.”

“I was really proud of working through this problem by myself without having to ask too many questions.”

“Ahhhhh, I’m a genius!”

“This was a productive day, guys.”

When the girls were offered a chance to do something fun while working on their final projects: “Wait, should we stay and work on our projects instead?”

I am so proud of these fabulous butterflies. It will be great to see how their journeys take them to new uncomfortable zones and new successes. Have a good time, indeed!

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