Working to improve access to and instruction in coding at Escalon High School, a club has been formed, students have participated in countywide ‘hackathon’ events and one student now has parlayed it into a summer internship opportunity.
Angel Sanchez was recently named the recipient of the internship through Rare Parts Inc., a machine shop in Stockton.
Teachers Rick Heflin and Chris Oliveira helped pave the way, joining up with the San Joaquin County Office of Education and a STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, countywide project.
“Through the program we introduced some coding and science and math collaboration in our classes. I spent almost every Friday last year teaching coding in my science class as a problem solving strategy for science,” Heflin explained. “Last year we both coached a team from Escalon to compete in the county hackathon. A hackathon is a competition where you are given a problem and you devise a solution by using programming and STEM education.”
The problem given to teams to solve focused on water conservation.
“Our team did very well. One of the members, Angel Sanchez wanted to see Escalon do more for coding and STEM education. He had done some coding on his own but the hackathon and coding in physics made him want more for himself and his friends,” added Heflin. “He talked Chris and I into starting a coding/technology club since at the time Escalon didn’t really have an outlet of that kind for students.”
Donations from Mark Hogan and Hogan Manufacturing provided advice and support to get the project off the ground.
“We got mini processor kits, a laser printer and a 3D printer. Angel basically put the 3D printer together from scratch,” Heflin pointed out. “We are still in the beginning stages of the club but Angel has still learned a lot from the equipment.”
The county Office of Education offers a paid internship program with Rare Parts Inc. in Stockton to a high school student and Sanchez applied for program.
“The internship program during the summer teaches the student about the occupation of being a machinist,” Heflin said.
Eight students in the county were called back for interviews and, out of the eight, Sanchez was the one selected for the internship program. Heflin and Sanchez recently attended the fourth annual STEM Awards dinner at the county office and Sanchez was presented with an award and the internship. He also received an award from Congressman Jerry McNerney.
“Angel knew what he wanted and found a way to work to get it,” Heflin said. “I was blown away when in a county with tons of STEM programs, Angel rocks the house and gets an internship over students from all other schools.”
In his acceptance speech, Sanchez thanked those that helped him achieve the goal, noting he had received support from many in the community.
“I am proud to live in a town that supports its youth,” Heflin agreed. “Many people in town provided resources to get Angel to this night.”