Rumble Young Man Rumble

When Amanda emailed me about an opportunity to visit the Muhammad Ali Center for a few days, the first things that registered in my head were a trip to Kentucky and no school. I did not know everything that Rumble Young Man Rumble had in store for us, but it far surpassed my expectations.

When we landed, we met with a friend of Christina’s who began to shed light on Muhammad Ali’s legacy beyond the ring. I always knew he was an incredible athlete, but I never knew that he was such a massive force for social change. Visiting the Muhammad Ali Center was really interesting because there’s a lot about Muhammad Ali that people probably don’t know, like his deep spirituality and his battle with Islamophobia from both whites and blacks.

Rumble Young Man Rumble was built around his six guiding principles: Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Respect, Spirituality, and Giving. Each day of the conference we learned more about what these principles truly meant alongside other young men of color. We had interesting debates, thoughtful conversations, and even built an art project together, all to understand these principles. We shared our stories, our thoughts, and our feelings with each other. In such a short period of time, we were able to create a safe space where everyone felt comfortable sharing how we felt.

It was incredible to be surrounded by so much black excellence, and even more incredible to see how much unconditional love and support these black men and women showed for each other. I felt like I was surrounded by family the entire time. When I was asked to stand up and share my wildest dream of becoming the face of technology, I got emotional at how much support these people were showing me. They didn’t even know me, but they had faith that I would do great things. I was able witness that weekend how far that support could take someone, because on the last night of the trip my best friend Mamadou was accepted to Stanford University as an Early Action applicant. Everyone in the airport must’ve heard us scream when we found out that he got in. I’ll never forget that moment, and I bet that Mamadou won’t either.

Rumble taught me that as an intellectual black man, it is essential to fight, but also to make sure that I have people in my corner to pick me up when I’m down, and people who can heal me when I’m hurt. I’m so grateful for the chance to participate in Rumble Young Man Rumble V, and I’ll never forget those six principles.

Lastly, the best part of Rumble, arguably, is the way we ended each day. We all stood up and yelled: RUMBLE YOUNG MAN RUMBLE!!! AHHHHH!!!









All Star Code Hosts First Hackathon, All Star Hacks!

On December 12th, over 70 high school students traveled to General Assembly’s offices in NYC for a day of learning and coding. All Star Hacks was All Star Code’s first hackathon focusing on the diversification of the tech sector.

I helped to organize the hackathon in collaboration with All Star Code. It was smooth, simple, and easy. We didn’t have a lot of time to organize the event, but it was an incredible success in no small part due to the participation of the wonderful All Stars and staff at All Star Code.

My favorite part of All Star Hacks was the Intro to Coding workshop. Many of our participants were first time hackers. Watching the excitement on their faces, capturing their feelings of wonder on camera, and seeing their finished hacks of awesomeness was amazing.

I invited a number of students from my school. Seeing them enveloped in the workshop, keeping themselves involved and amazed was beautiful to behold. Seeing Charles, a freshman from my school, making friends with other first time hackers made me incredibly happy.

Though we ended the hackathon a bit early, bringing together a large number of diverse first time hackers was enough to solidify the success of the event. At All Star Hacks, we gave students a taste of beauty in the tech world. I saw them leave General Assembly that day with a feeling to cultivate that into something bigger.

Written by Surendra, 2015 All Star

All Star Hacks

A special thanks to the All Star Hacks team including all of our alumni organizers and leader mentors, Isaiah Greene from Google and Phil Marshall from the Paley Center for Media as well as our generous hosts at General Assembly!

All Star Code Partners with JPMorgan Chase’s The Fellowship Initiative

All Star Code is happy to announce a partnership with the JPMorgan Chase’s The Fellowship Initiative, also called TFI. TFI enrolls high school males of color in a comprehensive, hands-on enrichment program that includes academic, social and emotional support. TFI was piloted in 2010 with one cohort in New York City and has since expanded to Chicago and Los Angeles.

Through this partnership, ASC provides free, full-day workshops to TFI Fellows. ASC instructors introduce basic business planning and modeling, wire framing and business pitching. ASC has conducted workshops in Chicago and New York and is headed to Los Angeles in January!

In Chicago and NYC, students were excited by the opportunity to create and pitch a business based on their unique ideas. Examples of pitches included a mobile application that helps musicians to showcase their talent and book gigs, and an application that helps student athletes filter their college search based on the quality of the sports program and geographic location.

















A New Beginning

11188431_1444740529170958_7471115465023070586_nMy experience with All Star Code has been full of firsts and opportunities for growth. From leading recruitment efforts, to managing the Summer Intensive and rolling out ASCs newest programming, The Alumni Accelerator, ASC has made a deep impression on me both personally and professionally.

I am so appreciative to have worked with this team. However, it is time to transition to other opportunities.
The future of each All Star is so full of potential! In these students, I see critical thinkers and leaders, creators of awesomeness, college graduates, entrepreneurs and future CEOs. Some of my favorite memories were created during Summer Intensive company visits, specifically Yelp and Goldman Sachs. The All Stars were unafraid to ask questions, get business cards and just have fun. I am so grateful to have worked with such talented, funny and determined students. In me, they have an eternal cheerleader.

I won’t consider this a good bye, rather a see you later. I will continue working in the educational space and look forward to the next challenge! If you’d like to stay in touch, feel free to contact me at

With Appreciation,

group cropped

An Exciting New Chapter

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Since the founding of All Star Code three years ago, we have exposed over 500 high school students to careers in computing in New York City and pioneered a radical idea: that young men of color are an untapped talent pool that deserves investment. With our community partners and widespread civic support, we have demonstrated a compelling need for high-quality tech entrepreneurship education for young men, but I know that we can grow faster and capitalize on our unique model in the next three years.

To realize our full potential, I believe we need to hire a new Executive Director. Personally, it is a tremendous privilege and honor to have grown All Star Code to the point where we are able to hire a person with the skillset to significantly strengthen and grow our organization. I am positive this transition is a byproduct of our success and that the right individual will enable us to scale with quality and sustainability and provide an even bigger platform to advocate for equal access to economic opportunity.

I remain committed to helping ASC achieve its goals as its Founder and Board Chair and will be working very closely with the Executive Director. Please see below for details on both roles.

In the months ahead I will be focused on leading the search for the new Executive Director. Please let me know if you have any questions or candidate suggestions. You can also direct recommendations and questions to Rebecca Meyer at On-Ramps, our search firm partner.

My Best,

Christina Lewis Halpern

Highlights of Executive Director role (Full job description):

  • Craft a compelling vision for All Star Code’s impact at scale
  • Oversee program development, day-to-day operations, and annual budget process
  • Build, coach, and manage a high-performing team
  • Foster and enhance ASC’s entrepreneurial, positive, and diverse culture
  • Act as primary liaison to the Board of Directors and participate on the Executive Committee
  • Work with Founder/Board Chair to recruit and secure Board and Advisory Board Members
  • Serve as the external face of ASC
  • Develop and cultivate a deep and thriving community of major donors and 
  • Responsible for the ultimate success of ASC

  • Harvard

    Join us for All Star Hacks!

    Successful technologists are measured by their effectiveness as collaborators and communicators. The notion that nothing great is accomplished alone is especially true in coding. Even the most senior web developer needs a second opinion when it comes to approaching a complicated problem. As coders, we learn the most about our projects and ourselves by taking a step back and asking our peers for constructive input.

    As a mentor for All Star Code and All Star Hacks, I get to see the power of collective effort firsthand. A hackathon is the ultimate exercise in collaboration and communication. I truly feel lucky to have a helping hand in formulating the structure for their ideas to flourish. Make no mistake, All Star Hacks is a hackathon put on by young hackers, for young hackers. Every detail of the 12hr day of activities was thought of and planned by these young men. It inspires me to work with them…I’m reminded of how important it is to stay hungry.

    On Saturday December 12, high school students from all over New York City will have a chance to dive into the exciting world of opportunities that technology has to offer. The best part is that they get to have fun while challenging themselves, their peers, and their mentors.

    What else can students look forward to at All Star Hacks?

  • Meet All Star Code staff and learn about programs
  • Speak with graduates of All Star Code programs
  • Project based coding workshops for all skill levels, even beginners
  • Plenty of food, snacks, and swag

  • If you know of a talented young hacker, or any NYC area high school student interested in learning more about web development, register now.

    All Star Hacks
    Saturday, December 12th
    9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    @ General Assembly

    Spaces are filling up fast. Reserve your spot today!

    This post was written by All Star Code mentor, Phil Marshall. Phil works as Web and Social Media Producer for The Paley Center for Media.


    Team All Star Code Raises Over $11K


    Team All Star Code joined forces to run the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon on November 1st. Andrea Casillas, Elliott Wiley, and Sahmra Stevenson generously donated their time and months of training to raise funds for our boys. Not only did all three members finish the race with flying colors, but Team All Star Code raised over $11,000 to support All Star Code’s programming. A special thanks to our runners and all those who helped them cross the finish line. Learn more about Team All Star Code below!

    Andrea Casillas

    Drea copyHometown
    Born in Albuquerque, NM and raised in Mesa, AZ

    Current Residence
    Brooklyn, NY

    Why did you run for Team All Star Code?
    I work in technology, have a teenage son who is an underrepresented minority in tech/science, am an athlete and really love the mission of All Star Code. It also helps that Christina Licata is my sister!

    Number of Marathons Completed

    What was special about this one?
    This time I was able to combine all my worlds and contribute to a cause that creates meaningful change.

    Anything else you would like our community to know.
    Watching all the videos and interviews of the young men who participate in this program brings such a smile to my face. The kids are incredibly smart and extremely excited to learn, create and share their work with the rest of the world. I’m happy knowing that these are future leaders in tech.

    Elliott Wiley

    Baltimore, MD

    Current Residence
    New York, NY

    Why did you run for Team All Star Code?
    The students who participate in All Star Code’s programs are amazing! Seeing their passion, creativity and ability to design and implement tech driven ideas is inspiring.

    Number of Marathons Completed
    4 (3x New York City Marathon)

    What was special about this one?
    Raising nearly $12k for All Star Code and running through every New York City borough is a next level feeling! It was also special because our entire team was able to exceed fundraising goals and finish the marathon.

    Anything else you would like our community to know?
    Please continue supporting All Star Code!

    Sahmra Stevenson

    Born in Philadelphia raised in Wilton, CT

    Current Residence

    Why did you run for Team All Star Code?
    Because Elliott told me to (smile). No…because when I learned about what a unique and inspiring charity it was I couldn’t say no.

    Number of Marathons Completed
    This makes 8 full marathons and 7 half marathons

    What was special about this one?
    It was in New York! I noticed more water stations than any other race I’ve ever seen, but over all the crowd participation and energy was off the chain.

    Anything else you would like our community to know?
    I would do it all over again.

    Meet Alberto Tornes, All Star Code’s New Community Manager!

    1798160_10152410504568342_8551836749508346144_nThe United States of America is a country of opportunity. As an immigrant I can attest to the veracity of this claim. Those who have the drive to work hard, those who are willing to fail and turn their failures into learning opportunities, and those who work insatiably to achieve their goals are, without a doubt, destined for success. But opportunity does not come easily. Many times it is not clear enough. Sometimes it is up to socially conscious people and organizations to break down the barriers that hinder opportunity from being shared equally.

    Joining All Star Code is an opportunity to work tirelessly to diversify America’s fastest growing industry: the technology sector. With blacks and Latinos representing a combined 9% of tech employees, and with over 1.4 million new technology-related jobs being predicted by 2020, it is imperative that the tech industry resembles a bit more what this country is: a nation that has historically embraced diversity and one that thrives from multiple cultural perspectives.

    As All Star Code’s new Community Manager, I will be spearheading our newest program: the Alumni Accelerator. This recently launched program was designed in order to continue creating opportunities for our boys to get more immersed within the technology industry. I will be managing our existing relationships with tech companies and forging new ones to provide our boys with meaningful experiential learning and mentorship opportunities.

    Prior to joining All Star Code, I worked at AID FOR AIDS International, a New York City-based nonprofit, developing and executing fundraising and marketing campaigns. This experience allowed me to better understand the world of social innovation and the need to develop programs and initiatives with a social impact focus. As a social entrepreneur, I also co-founded StartUp Cuba, an initiative created with the mission of fostering an ever-more dynamic culture of entrepreneurship in Cuba by empowering a new generation of socially minded entrepreneurs.

    I have arrived at All Star Code captivated by our mission and fascinated by the knowledge and entrepreneurial grit that our boys exhibit. I am honored to work alongside a remarkable group of professionals that wake up every day to break down barriers and challenge the status quo. I look forward to working relentlessly on your behalf, continuing to level the playing field for minority groups within the tech sector.

    If you wish to connect and learn more about me, feel free to reach out at and/or @artornes.

    Young Hackers Collaborate with All Star Code on Local Hack Day


    Most high school students would do very little besides sleep in on a Saturday morning. But on October 10th, over 60 high school students traveled to the Flatiron District for a day of coding. Local Hack Day is a global hackathon, and The Young Hackers participated by hosting their own Local Hack Day at General Assembly.

    High School students from across the city, many of whom were first time hackers, sat anxiously in their seats waiting for the event to begin. NYC’s CTO, Minerva Tantoco, gave awesome opening remarks, reminding the hackers how important their work is, and wishing them luck.

    After our Co-Founder Mamadou Diallo gave some additional remarks, the hacking began. Students were forced out of their comfort zones, as many of them didn’t know anyone at the hackathon. They quickly made friends, and soon after teams were solidified. The atmosphere was electric. A constant flow of snacks kept the hackers energized and a series of introductory workshops ensured that every hacker was well equipped, regardless of their prior knowledge of coding.

    We had a particularly intense beginner workshop for hackers starting from scratch. When they finished and re-entered the room, everyone in the space applauded them and welcomed them to the Young Hacker family.

    Diverse programming kept the spirit and creativity up, from longboard races with mentors to rap-battles with engineers. The sun began to set when dinner arrived, but crunch time was just beginning. Hackers worked hard to polish their projects and pitches one final time before they presented to our panel of judges.

    The hackathon was only 12 hours long, but the outcome was amazing. The projects ranged from iPhone apps that made practicing Math fun, all the way to a 3D Frogger-esque escape game. After taking a massive group selfie with a selfie stick courtesy of Major League Hacking, everyone helped clean up before heading home with a new love for technology.

    Check out all of the photos from Local Hack Day!