Gasps could be heard from down the hallway as author Sasha Ariel Alston entered a classroom at Hays-Porter School on September 15, 2017.
An inspiring young woman, Alston is only 19 years old and a junior at Pace University in New York. She spent two years writing the children’s book, "Sasha Savvy Loves to Code", because she wanted to get girls and minority students excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
“Hays-Porter is a High Technology school, and Sasha is the perfect role model for our students,” said Hays-Porter Principal Nedria McClain. “She’s ambitious, smart, successful and proves that you don’t have to look a certain way to be interested in science.”
Hays-Porter introduced its High Technology program during the 2016-2017 school year through Cincinnati Public Schools’ (CPS) Vision 2020: My Tomorrow program. Alston was the perfect choice to bring in as a special guest to talk to students about STEM and how it can be infused into their studies and day-to-day life. Students had prepared for her visit by reading her book and using technology in the classroom every day.
Alston started her visit with a tour of the school, stopping in classes ranging from Pre-K to sixth grade. She then enjoyed a “Girls Who Code” luncheon with a group of hand-selected fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade girls who were given the VIP treatment with a velvet rope entrance to the gym; pink, black and white balloons; and the chance to have their books signed by Alston.
Next, Alston made her way to the second floor where she spoke with third graders and read an excerpt from her book with a reading specialist. She finished her day talking to the fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders at an assembly.
At the assembly, Principal McClain announced that Alston’s visit was serving as the kick-off to a new program, “Tech It to the Next Level.” The program is designed to engage students and provide them with enriching technology experiences.
To activate the new “Tech It to the Next Level” program, each student was given a passport booklet filled with technology-based activities that can be done in the classroom or at home. Example activities include the Nepris Challenge, in which students learn about careers in Information Technology and complete letters to featured speakers, and the HTTP student event, a talent program featuring student work. For every task completed, students receive a stamp. Earning stamps qualifies them to be entered into a drawing for a scholarship to a summer technology camp with the University of Cincinnati and a spot on the Hays-Porter IT Legacy Wall.
Visit the Hays-Porter website to learn more about what’s happening throughout the school year.
Read More at IamCPS.org