By: Aditi Patil
Hundreds of parents, children, students, teachers, and administrators across Dix Hills and nearby towns piled into West Hollow Middle School on December 5th in order to be a part of the Half Hollow Hills’ wonderful 2nd Annual Night of Code! This event consists of several displays, speeches, and hands-on activities for people of all ages to learn about the wonders of technology that we are witnessing all around us. The second annual Night of Code had displays ranging from the new Advanced Placement course, AP Computer Science Principles, to 5th grade Mathematics students to several different clubs, organizations, and nonprofits dedicated to educating others about computer science and technology.
When speaking with Mrs. Kavner, a science teacher and club advisor for XX Coders at High School East, about the event, she stated that “the Night Of Code makes us a community that stands apart from other ones. Everyone does hour of code, but we do night of code.” All throughout the middle school, one could see the eyes of young children and adults light up as the recognition of how much potential technology has in impacting our lives is presented in such a tangible form. From simple activities, like creating a block of code that can make a character walk in a circle to battling robots in a court, everyone was inspired by what they were able to accomplish. “I think it shows what we care about and what we have as priorities,” Mrs. Kavner added, “Knowing about the world as it is now, being in touch with technology, and making sure that we learn the things that will be helpful to us in the future which is all about coding and tech and being together as a community.”
Mrs. Jolynn Sapia, the Instructional Computing Director and Business Coordinator of the Half Hollow Hills District who is responsible for bringing Night Of Code to life, stated “If you expose [the children] to coding when they’re young, they won’t be afraid! They’re growing up with this. So I think that each year, the more and more we expose kids and get them used to different things, it’ll just grow and grow.”
Mrs. Sapia is extremely correct here. The technology that younger generations are growing up with now is several times faster, more powerful, and easier to use than it was just twenty years ago. Children are given iPhones and computers before they can even speak, and this is changing the functionality of how our society works and what our future will look like. The Night Of Code is an excellent event that promotes this concept of using our technology for good: for innovation, creation, and progress. Robots like “Dot” and “Dash” can be likened to the robotic technology being used to perform microscopic neurosurgery, and the complex programming students have completed in a range of languages can be likened to creating artificial intelligence such as Siri. Who knows–maybe the next Elon Musk will come out of HHH’s very own halls!