Tag Archives: All Stars

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!!!

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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.

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    Don’t Miss Local Hack Day!

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    Originated by Major League Hacking, Local Hackday is a series of hackathons that take place around the world and our boys are leading one in New York City.

    On October 10th, graduates of All Star Code’s Summer Intensive will lead LocalHackDay NYC at General Assembly in cooperation with the Young Hackers, a hacking organization founded by All Stars Austin Carvey and Mamadou Diallo. Hackathons have become an exciting way for All Stars to build their CS skills, network, and engage in friendly competition.

    All Star Code is thrilled to support our boys as they establish themselves as leaders in tech community.

    What can students look forward to?

  • Meeting ASC staff and learning about our programs
  • Speaking to graduates of our Summer Intensive Program
  • Peer-teaching and learning
  • Lunch and snacks!
  • ​If you or someone you ​know is interested in attending, please register now! No previous coding experience is necessary.

    Space is limited. Secure your spot today!

    REGISTER

    AT&T Aspire Awards 7 All Stars with Scholarship Award

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    Seven students from All Star Code were named AT&T Scholars, as part of a scholarship program AT&T is funding in order to educate, inspire and equip high school boys of color with the skills to pursue careers in tech. The seven students, most of which are from the New York City area will serve for the next year as All Star Code Ambassadors. They will have the opportunity to network with industry professionals and receive free laptops and other supplies. Students were selected based on a combination of leadership, positivity, work ethic and a demonstrated desire to learn and apply classroom concepts.

    “Confident, qualified young men of color who are ready to enter STEM careers are essential to the future of our business and our community,” said Marissa Shorenstein, New York State President of AT&T. “All Star Code works to grow the field and we are thrilled to support the program and our AT&T scholars.”

    “Our boys are a tremendous pool of untapped talent. Teaching them to code is an investment that has unlimited potential return, whether in new ideas and innovation or increased economic opportunity, and we’re tremendously excited to have AT&T’s help in fostering the next generation of tech pioneers,” said Christina Lewis Halpern, Founder and Executive Director of All Star Code.

    The seven All Star Code/AT&T Scholars are:

    • Anand Karmaker, a rising junior at High School for Math, Science and Engineering. He lives in the Bronx.
    • De Andre King, a rising senior at Urban Assembly Gateway School for Technology. He lives in Queens.
    • Uzair Vawda, a rising junior at William Cullen Bryant High School. He lives in Queens.
    • John Abreu, a rising senior at Horace Mann School. He lives in the Bronx.
    • Kofi Adu, a rising senior at Deerfield Academy. He lives in the Bronx.
    • Kwaku Kessey-Ankomah Jr., a rising senior at Cardinal Hayes High School. He lives in the Bronx.
    • Sebastian Galvin, a rising senior Proctor Academy. He lives in Norwalk, Connecticut.

    “I’m proud to be an AT&T scholar because I met a lot of wonderful people and it’s an honor to represent them,” said Sebastian Galvin, a rising senior Proctor Academy. “To be surrounded by people with similar mindsets as myself in the Summer Intensive, and being able to relate to them as fellow young men of color is truly a gift in and of itself.”

    AT&T awarded All Star Code $100,000 through AT&T Aspire, the company’s signature initiative that drives innovation in education to support student success in school and beyond. Through Aspire, AT&T has invested in several innovative education organizations, tools and solutions and engaged its employees through student mentorship.

    Meet the New Class of All Stars!

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    We are thrilled that the 2015 Summer Intensive has officially launched this week! Microsoft NY and Alley NYC will host 40 All Stars over the next six weeks.

    Of the 40 students in this year’s program, 31 students are local to New York City – representing Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, and Manhattan. The other 9 students come from New Jersey, Virginia, Arizona, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maryland, representing 7 states in total. More than half of the students identify as African-American/Black, over a quarter identify as Latino, and 10% identify as Asian or Other.

    As part of our #techspeakerseries, students will hear from leaders in the New York City tech industry. All Stars will also visit tech offices, such as Dropbox, Yelp!, and YouTube. By the end of the 6-week program, students will have learned 1 college semester level of computer science including exposure to physical computing, robotics, and web applications. They will have built at least 1 video game, 2 mobile web applications, and 1 physical computing device (a toy memory game). The Summer Intensive will culminate with Demo Day hosted at Google, where teams will present their final projects.

    We’re very excited to see what our All Stars accomplish this Summer. Follow their work and play during this awesome #summerofcode on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

    Catalyst SAT Bootcamp

    On March 7th and 8th, All Star Code will team up with Catalyst Prep and AlleyNYC to present the Catalyst SAT Bootcamp. This unique workshop will last 4 hours each day, and will provide students with essential prep for their upcoming test. The Catalyst SAT Bootcamp is the only workshop designed by instructors who take the actual SAT every time the test is offered, and have earned multiple perfect scores as a result. The Catalyst SAT Bootcamp is not a “mock” SAT – this one-weekend workshop arms students with go-to strategies for every question they’re guaranteed to face on the test.

    The bootcamp will be hosted at AlleyNYC – “The Most Badass Co-working Space on the Planet” – where All Star Code held its first Summer Intensive program last summer. With several All Star Code Alums in attendance, this bootcamp will also be a great opportunity to meet students who can tell you what it’s like to be a part of the ASC ecosystem.

    See the below flyer for more details, feel free to reach out to Info@CatalystPrep.com with additional questions, and get pumped for the Catalyst SAT Bootcamp. We look forward to seeing you there!

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    All Star Code’s 10 Reasons To Be Thankful

    This Thanksgiving season, the All Star Code Team feels truly thankful for what we’ve been able to accomplish – for ourselves as an organization, and for our high school boys of color – since the program began in March 2013. So much has happened – to us, to our students, to our ecosystem and the tech space in general – over the last year. Below, I give my top ten reasons that we at All Star Code are giving thanks this year.

    1. For All Star Code’s Organizational Growth. Despite a federal backlog in 501(c)(3) approvals, All Star Code acquired its “nonprofit” status in less than a year. A truly record achievement. Moreover, the organization has grown from a lone visionary founder, Christina Lewis Halpern, to a core team of 8 people – 5 full-time and 3 part-time members. Christina. Michael. Robert. David. Amanda. Linda. Vilasinee. And, finally, our second Christina: Licata. We’re more like family than fellow staff. And we’re thankful for that.

    2.For Our Innovative Workshops and Summer Intensive. As a mission-driven family, our team will have conducted five introductory workshops for 110 students (Design a Startup in a Day and The World of Coding) by the end of 2014. Whereas 50 students applied to attend last year’s Design a Startup in a Day workshops, over 140 have applied this year. The demand is growing.

    Our inaugural Summer Intensive Program was a phenomenal success – based on voluminous feedback received from students, parents, speakers, mentors, partnering tech companies, and foundation supporters. Every member of our ecosystem who witnessed our initial cohort of 20 All Stars as they learned to code, white board, and pitch business ideas at our AlleyNYC location issued the same refrains:

    “Where did you find such bright, talented and driven young men?”

    ”Why can’t they be college graduates already?”

    And my favorite:

    “ I wish this program had existed for me when I was a teenager in high school.”

    Truth be told, I have often remarked this to myself. So, for the opportunity to create a genuine pathway to career success for a new generation of techies of color, we are grateful. This represents progress.

    3. For Our Trailblazing Students. And what of those initial 20 students, our first group of alumni, who Team All Star Code selected with so much care, hope and faith? What have they been up to since completing the Summer Intensive? To be honest, a few have already surpassed our expectations. For example:

    • Several alumni, led by Mamodou Diallo and Austin Carvey, have created a coding club called “Young Hackers.” This entrepreneurial group has organized 2 successful Hackathons (a 3rd is scheduled for Dec 6th) for nearly 200 high school participants. The Young Hackers acquired their own event sponsorships from tech companies like Google, Twilio, AlleyNYC, Mainstreet, Major League Hacking, Whisk, and DigitalOcean. They show no signs of slowing down. And they are mostly high school juniors.
    • ASC alumnus Anthony Box immediately for a yearlong education exchange program in China. He took his cello and an All Star Code laptop – to continue coding. Anthony has since been featured by CNN as an American teen who is helping bridge the cultural gap between US-China relations.
    • ASC alumnus Devon Howell, and his team, won 1st prize at DigitalUndivided’s prestigious Focus100 Hackathon this past October.
    • Several alumni have obtained internship at tech startups in NYC. But all of our boys have served as “All Star Code Champions” at their home schools.

    To say that we are proud, that we choose wisely, is an understatement. Boys in the recent Summer Intensive cohort felt they, as well, had chosen wisely in attending the program. They all expressed sentiments similar to those captured by Luis Dominguez, now a senior at Philips Exeter Academy.

    Thank you so much for this summer. I know that there was some debate on my coming here, due to my experience. But I feel like I got a lot out of the program. Even though I’ve done things like AP Comp Sci, I feel like I had never done as much with technology. In an analogous way, it was like I was seeing the world in black and white before. I needed All Star Code to provide the color that I was missing

    ASC really does expand your world-view. I often stayed after the program to talk with the co-facilitators and it just fueled my passion to learn more. It just gave me that much more motivation. I feel like I would have been much more reluctant to do something in tech in the future if I hadn’t done All Star Code.

    ASC really brightens your opportunities…just overall. The entire way it’s structured. I’m really grateful for this program.

    In short, we are thankful for choosing students who acknowledge the support we’ve given them, even as they forge ahead.

    4. For Living the Mission. Student gratitude, expressed by both our alumni’s words and their post-program actions, tells All Star Code that we are on to something. It tells us, very clearly, that we are inspiring young men of color to become active creators, innovators and leaders within the tech ecosystem. We are showing them how to build communities and supportive peer groups, how to network, and how to participate in the tech space. We have given them license, and a roadmap, to be creative. And we are teaching them, conversely, to forego remaining passive consumers of tech products and services. Our extensive program evaluation, conducted by WestEd’s STEM Group (San Francisco) bears out this reality. WestEd’s high-level findings revealed that, by program’s end:

    • 100% of our boys self-identified as “hackers.”
    • 95% of them were strongly considering a career in computer science.
    • 85% of our boys ranked computer science as their likely major in college.
    • The skill our All Star Coders ranked as most desirable: algorithmic thinking.
    • 100% of our alumni were confident that they could solve problems – economic, social, political, or technical – using a computer.

    These data points, among other findings in the report, are very heartening. It shows that “living the mission” for just one summer produced significant changes in student mindset toward coding, computer science and career options. We are thankful for WestEd’s meticulous and discerning evaluation of our program and its outcomes. It shows us that we’re on the right path.

    5. For Silicon Valley’s Courageous Admission. This past summer, Silicon Valley’s most prominent tech firms released figures on the racial and ethnic makeup of their companies. Google was the first, revealing that out of its 46,000 employees, just 2 percent – and 1 percent of its technology workforce – are black. Next was Yahoo’s admission: of 12,300 employees, 1 percent of its tech workforce is black. Of Facebook’s workforce: 1 percent. Apple’s workforce is 7 percent black, given the number of black “geniuses” working at their 425 retail locations. Finally, only 1 percent of Twitter’s tech workforce, and 2 percent of its overall workforce, is African-American. These were courageous admissions by the leaders of the tech industry. We applaud them for their bravery, and for their subsequent commitment to bring issues of workforce diversity and inclusion front-and-center.

    Christina Lewis Halpern recognized this as a central economic issue of our time. She founded All Star Code because of it. Our team built All Star Code to address this at the high school level. So, we are thankful for Silicon Valley’s recognition of the very real need for programs like All Star Code.

    6. For The Current Champions of Tech Education & Inclusion. Team All Star Code gains strength and mission clarity from its partners in the tech inclusion ecosystem. We appreciate the work they do in creating energy and space for our movement. There are “champions of inclusion: at pioneering organizations: Code2040’s Laura Weidman Powers, Digital Undivided’s Kathryn Finney, Black Girls Code’s Kimberly Bryant, and Van Jones’ YesWeCode. And the movement has grown into a flourishing ecosystem here in New York City. To name just a few of our allies: GirlsWhoCode, ScriptEd, MOUSE, CampInteractive, The Flatiron School, Code Now, Blacks in Tech, ELiTE Education, Platform.org, Silicon Harlem, Bronx Startup Box, Open Society’s Black Male Achievement Project, and Teals. We are thankful for this thriving ecosystem of social impact organizations.

    7. For the Tech Industry’s Recent Trend Towards Inclusion. Recognizing the need for more concrete action, Marc Andreesen donated $500,000 to three non-profits working on the front lines to bring more diversity to the high-tech industry. In October 2014, Andreesen and his wife apportioned half a million dollars to Code2040, GirlsWhoCode, and Hack the Hood. The grants send a strong signal about the growing momentum in Silicon Valley to close the gender and racial gap in the high-tech industry. And as Andreesen noted in a recent spate of articles, “Tech is not yet inclusive enough. There is no question that there is a huge opportunity to make it more inclusive and open it up to traditionally underrepresented groups, such as women and underrepresented minorities.”

    In a recent article in New York magazine, Andreesen further defines the obstacles as “education”, “access” and “networking.” Around the same time, Google donated $190,000 to Black Girls Code to address the issues of underrepresentation. These gifts represent a growing trend among the heavyweights of the tech industry to invest in diversifying their future talent pools by embracing nonprofits like ours that focus on tech education, workforce development and inclusion. All Star Code is thankful for this trend.

    8. For Fast Company’s Spotlight on Diversity Pioneers. Fast Company has shone a spotlight on the pioneering leaders of organizations like All Star Code, Black Girls Code, Code2040 and GirlsWhoCode. But the magazine’s recent piece on Tristan Walker raised the profile of diversity issues in the technology space. The piece detailed the “Silicon Valley success story” that is Tristan Walker. It serves him up as a genuine role model for other aspiring tech entrepreneurs of color, while exploring the many challenges still faced by successful black techies, like Tristan, in an industry currently dominated by White and Asian males. Tristan’s rather complex story confirms the importance of All Star Code’s work in building student’s education in computer science, professional networks and system know-how.

    A companion article in the same edition of Fast Company, on a “roundtable discussion of other African-American tech leaders,” revealed the importance of a strong and supportive professional peer group. This network of friends and colleagues provide our All Star Coders with examples of how to work and play together professionally – while keeping your focus on increasing our representation among leaders in the tech world. We are thankful for this group’s roadmaps to pioneering entrepreneurship and peer network building. We see what needs to be done, and how all Star Code can help these opportunities grow.

    9. For the Sobering Lessons of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown and (Many, Many) Others. These tragedies remind us that the killings of our young black males – by other black males, and by police officers with greater frequency – is a social epidemic that calls for collective, concerted and sustained intervention. President Obama’s major initiative, My Brother’s Keeper, attempts to address the overall plight of young black males in this country. And within this initiative, organizations like All Star Code have been able to gain greater exposure and traction. We find ourselves in a greater position to work with organizations and institutions, at every political level, to shape the public policy surrounding education and workforce development for our young men of color. It takes a community to raise a black male child. And All Star Code has quickly become a recognized member of that community. And second, the wrongful deaths of these young boys has increased the desire of each team member to build and expand All Star Code’s programs nationally. We want to expose as many boys of color as possible to All Star Code’s programming and continued support throughout the high school years. We want to build the kind of “ecosystem of education and access” that will produce young men of color who become household names being tech pioneer and leaders instead.

    10. For You (Yes, You!). Last, but not least, we are thankful for your unwavering support. Be you an individual, organization or tech company. You have been an important part of our ecosystem thus far. Some of you have given advice, guidance, and resources to get All Star Code off the ground two years ago. Others have since become board members, formal advisors, mentors, and general program ambassadors. Still others have donated funds to support our continued work and growth. And many of you have given us access to your network of colleagues who are equally committed to social impact work like ours. As importantly, many organizations have given All Star Code financial resources, event space, tech staff support, pro bono services and other types of support. We chose to name none of you specifically in order, ironically, to thank all of you equally.

    Because of your unwavering support, we have completed a successful “proof of concept” year and move forward to greater success. We leave behind a year that leaves us thankful for many things. Most especially…our organizational growth…our innovative workshops and summer intensive…our trailblazing students…our living the mission…Silicon Valley’s courageous admissions…the current champions of tech education & inclusion…the tech industry’s recent trend towards inclusion…Fast Company’s spotlight on diversity pioneers…the galvanizing lessons of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown and many others…and You.

    Happy Thanksgiving, All Star Code Tribe!

    Robert Bonner

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