While most high school students were relaxing during their summer vacation, one student from Queens finished a six-week summer program with All Star Code (ASC), an organization that prepares young men of color for full-time employment in the technology field.
That student is De Andre King, 17, who lives in Springfield Gardens and will be a senior at The Urban Assembly Gateway School for Technology this September. During his sophomore year King was introduced to ASC for the first time at a job fair hosted by the technology school.
“In school they have a job fair. I was drawn to their table because of their presentation,” King said. “I applied for the program in my sophomore year. I was very passionate about it.”
Unfortunately, King was not accepted to the program on his initial application. He waited until the school held the job fair again during his junior year; this time, he was accepted.
As a nonprofit initiative, the ASC’s mission is to inspire, equip and support students in becoming creators and innovators in the technology field. They focus on increasing professional access to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education for young men of color.
“With everything that is going on today in the field of technology, I know the All Star Code program can give me the tools necessary to propel myself into the tech field,” King said. “It opens my eyes to the possibilities in the tech field.”
As a sponsor of the ASC program, AT&T believes in their work and helps support the program.
“We awarded All Star Code a $100,000 AT&T Aspire Grant to support students to graduate high school, preparing them for college or to enter the workforce,” said Marissa Shorenstein, AT&T New York president. “We believe in the mission of the program and commitment to introduce high school students to STEM and insure the future workforce. In addition to providing them with money, we provide mentorship for students.”
During the six-week program, King and the other students were tasked with completing complex projects using different coding managers. The group also got to make site visits to the offices of many tech giants including Google, Dropbox, YouTube and Yelp.
For their final project, King and his group created their very own app. Their “Novus Application” was designed to allow students to have all of their academic and non-academic information all in one platform and while on the go.
“Novus allows for better communication between students and schooling,” King said. “You can get information on school teams, grades and more. Sometimes it is hard to access information as student through the school.”
King believes the ASC program has taught him more than just coding and creating computer programs.
“One thing that sticks out to me is accepting that failure is in the process of growth. From there you can learn and improve,” King said. “Sometimes it is hard to admit or acknowledge failures. It really humbled me and taught me that it’s okay to fail. In each trial you will encounter failures.”