Tag Archives: alumni

Our Alumni are off to College!

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All Star Code recently celebrated the accomplishments of our graduating seniors with a college send-off event. During the evening, we learned that more than 60% of the students will be attending top 50 universities in the United States. Graduates will be attending Columbia University, Duke University, Harvey Mudd College, Howard College, Stanford University and NYU just to name a few. Additionally, our graduating seniors have received over $500,000 in scholarships and financial aid.

The evening, hosted at Christina Lewis Halpern’s residence, was filled with excitement and gratitude. All Star Code is extremely proud and eager to support our young entrepreneurs who are already pioneering into this new world.100% of our alumni who are graduating seniors will be attending college.

This year, ASC alumni will be attending the following colleges all around the country and continuing their journeys in becoming the next generation of tech leaders:

Boston College

Bucknell University

Columbia University (4)

Cornell University

Denison University

Duke University

Hampton College

Harvey Mudd College (2)

Howard University

Ithaca College (2)

LaGuardia Community College

Lawrence University

Lehigh University

Long Island University

Marist College

New York University

Queens College

Rochester Institute of Technology

Stanford University

The University at Albany, SUNY (2)

The University at Albany, SUNY (Honors College)

The University of Maryland, College Park

University of Virginia

Williams College

Yale University

Flipping the Script

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I spent a lot of my childhood with my Grandma. I still spend a lot of time with my Grandma, but back when I was in elementary school I was with her every weekend. When I got to her house, I was always greeted with a hot meal and a seat in her lap. We talked about everything. She asked me about how school was going, what Spongebob’s latest antic was, if I was respecting my parents, everything. No matter what we ended up talking about, at some point she would say, “Dja, one day you’re gonna shine so so so bright. I can’t wait.” She was always in my corner, always fighting for me, always loving me. I’m so grateful I had the support of my family growing up, because as I got older I realized that not everyone saw the same potential in me that my grandma saw.

I went to PS 180, a small school in Harlem, for elementary and middle school. I loved it there, it was like another family. All my friends at school were from the neighborhood too so we got to hang out all the time. My school fought for us so hard, but it was difficult for our little Harlem school to get funding, so resources were limited. When it came time to apply to high schools, our assistant principal, Ms. Marren, told us about the specialized high school test, the entrance exam for the top 7 schools in the city. Ms. Marren worked so hard with us for the next few months to prepare us for the test. My parents both work in education, so they signed me up for a prep class for the specialized high school test as well. It was a tutorial program for young black students. My instructor told us that students studied for years in preparation for this test, so we had to work extra hard to make sure that we had a chance. I studied really, really hard. It upset me that some students had the advantage of years of practice. I was upset that no one thought to look at me and my friends to see if we had potential. I knew that we could blow people away, we just never had the chance to. I used that anger to push me, to motivate me to score above everyone on the test. I ended up doing pretty well on the SHSAT, at least well enough to get into my school, the High School for Math Science and Engineering.

In middle school I was surrounded by people who looked like me, talked like me, and did things the way I did things. High school was a huge culture shock. To be honest, the biggest change was all the white people. That was new, but I also noticed that I got treated a lot differently. In middle school I got asked stuff like, “Did you watch the game last night?” or “What’s gonna be on the Math test later?” In high school I got asked stuff like, “Can I touch your hair?” and “Do you live in the Bronx or Brooklyn?” No one took me seriously. There are 14 black kids in my whole grade, and I was basically the funny one that’s always dancing. All my white friends recounted their experiences interning at publishing companies and courthouses, and I was a little bitter that I had never been afforded those opportunities. It took me my first two years of high school to realize that I didn’t have access to these opportunities because I was black. I felt disrespected, excluded, but above all else I felt ready to flip the script.

At the end of my sophomore year I started looking for summer programs beyond the usual park cleanup job. A couple of days later my mom told me about this new program called All Star Code that taught young black boys how to code.  She said that All Star Code was holding a workshop that weekend and that I should go. I realllyyyy did not wanna spend my Saturday hacking away on my laptop in some dark room, and I fought against my mom’s wishes, but she was not having it. Guess who won. I woke up early that Saturday and took the train down to General Assembly for All Star Code’s second “Design a Startup in a Day” workshop. Honestly one of the best Saturdays of my life. When All Star Code launched their application, I filled it out as fast as I could.

When we started new topics in All Star Code, we didn’t get long boring lectures. We got cheat-sheets for the syntax of a new skill and we just jumped in. We learned by doing, which I think was a lot more effective than watching our instructors, Jonathan and Paul type a bunch of loops into their laptops. It was so weird because learning at ASC was so much fun and way different than school. Jonathan and Paul looked at us and saw beyond what society expected us to become. They didn’t see future garbagemen and criminals. They saw CEOs and innovators. They believed that each and every one of us had the potential to change the world, and they worked hard so that we have the tools that we needed to do so.

I want you guys to close your eyes and picture something for me. Imagine what the workforce would need to look like for All Star Code to not have to exist anymore. Keep your eyes closed. If all of you worked in tech, I think that about 25% of this room should be black. That means that 1 in every 4 people that you look at should be black for All Star Code to not be necessary. Open your eyes. That’s why ASC needs to exist and that’s why we need more ASC’s.

I left All Star Code more confident and optimistic than I had ever been my whole life. I kept coding outside of class and I started attending hackathons at colleges across the country. At first I was really intimidated by all these elite college students, but hackathons are super inclusive and collaborative, so I fit right in. We call this the hacker ethos. I honed my skills all year and by the time summer came again I was pretty proud of how far I came. I was starting to see my own potential.

When ASC announced that they were looking for ASC alum to be teaching fellows for the next cohort, I signed up right away. All Star Code did so much for me, and I wanted to give back and help out in any way I could.

This fall I filled out another application, this time for Stanford University. Stanford is right in the heart of Silicon Valley, and it’s a place where I can get a solid tech education without sacrificing my other interests. Two years ago, I never would’ve even considered applying to Stanford, because I wouldn’t have believed in myself enough to think that I could get it. Now, I won’t jinx it, but I think my chances are pretty good. All Star Code gave me the confidence to look inside myself and realize that I’m capable of doing whatever I put my mind to. No other learning environment has taught me as much as ASC did, which is why we need more programs like it. If I had classes at school that were taught ASC style, we’d be pumping out Bill Gates-es nonstop! We have to rethink the way we educate kids in America, because when kids like me discover their potential, that’s when we realize that we can change the world.

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

    Farewell from Managing Director Robert Bonner

    Dear All Star Code Friends, Family and Alumni,

    Happy September!

    As the new school year begins, many new experiences await our alumni. Some are finally off to college! We wish these students much success, and deserved confidence, as they make this major life transition. The new crop of 2015 Summer Intensive alumni are returning to their high schools genuinely transformed from a one-of-a-kind summer experience. Judging from updates on their Facebook group, they are looking forward to building their tech skills through ASC’s Accelerator Program. I wish each of these young men continued success as they embark on this new leg of their exciting journey!

    I also want to give you, members of our tech-education ecosystem, an update on something that’s been developing for me at All Star Code. Now that our 2nd Summer Intensive has ended so successfully, All Star Code is in a better position than ever to grow in New York City – and to scale beyond.

    Having helped build the foundations of All Star Code, I am transitioning out of my role as Managing Director. I share this news with an obvious mix of sadness and excitement. There is never an opportune time to leave a train moving as fast as All Star Code. But change becomes more difficult once the organization begins accelerating again in the new school year.

    I have helped establish the organization’s very foundations and presence in the tech education space. Indeed, these years of hard work have been nothing short of phenomenal! All Star Code now has many key elements in place — a solid core team, a unique program and curriculum, a financial structure, a budget, 501(c)(3) status, a strategic plan, nearly 60 alumni and a one-of-a-kind reputation. Students, parents, and schools love All Star Code. And rightly so! Moreover, ASC also enjoys an ecosystem of professional mentors, tech partnerships and sponsorships that are truly enviable. I came on board to help set up all of this. I succeeded, and am proud of these accomplishments.

    Now that these things are in place, I am moving on to other opportunities and challenges. Christina and the (growing) team will nimbly handle the impending expansion phase! Much love to this growing work on behalf of our boys of color. Their lives truly matter.

    I will be moving on to consulting opportunities within the non-profit and tech education spaces. I want to find ways to leverage all that I have achieved and learned up to this point to continue my service to our young people of color. I will also revive my work as an executive and leadership coach. This is my primary passion: helping others to find their professional pathways and to excel. As you can see, All Star Code’s mission has been an obvious example of this work.

    Please let’s keep in touch. I’d love to keep each of you as a valued member of my professional network, with obvious overlaps to All Star Code’s. But I would most want to keep you as allies and friends.

    And to the students: I am always here as a supportive mentor. If you’ve learned nothing over the past two years, know this. So don’t hesitate to reach out at bonnersuter@gmail.com!

    Best wishes for everyone’s continued success!

    Sincerely,
    Robert

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    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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