SORRENTO VALLEY, Calif. (KGTV) — The CEO of Robolink, Hansol Hong, thinks coding might be our future.
“Coding has become a viable skill, and some people call it the new cursive whether you want to become an engineer or not. The skillset of knowing and understanding is very important,” Hong described.
It’s one of the reasons he designed coding kits for schools across the U.S. in a way students can learn while staying engaged.
“Students see the physical reaction of what’s happening in digital work, transforming to physical work flying these drones. Those things make students excited and make them engaged, and we build more activities on top of that.”
But he knows not all opportunities, especially when it comes to education, are equal. “Our team had a strong mission that equity is important,” creating a summer camp that gives students in underserved areas a chance to build drones and robots through coding.
Eighth grader, Don Hernandez, was one of the first students in the 3-week pilot program. “We built a robot car, we gave it commands through Python, we made it go forward, and turn right,” Hernandez described. “It feels good because we’re learning a new skill, and it might help us in the future.”
Hernandez is part of Reality Changers, a non-profit that connected Robolink with students.
“We’re a big proponent of getting more students, especially students of color in STEM, and Robolink has opened that door for students,” said Nina Shmorhun with the organization.
Hong said working with more non-profits to get STEM education in the hands of students is the perfect algorithm for success. “Students coming through our program leave with a big smile, and their parents thank us saying, ‘my son or daughter enjoyed it and told us how they’re going to become a robotic engineer’.”
For the second consecutive year, the Seal of Biliteracy has been awarded to students at Cleburne High School who have obtained fluency in two or more languages by graduation and met the academic standards required for the national recognition.
The recipients, all 2021 graduates, include Michelle Cruz, Ashley Hernandez, Tamara Reyes, Sandra Solis, Kevin Duran, Juan Mares Ramirez, Yaritza Rojas, Ashley Vega-Enamorado, Arlett Garcia, Gisell Ortiz, Jose Sanchez, Denisse Garcia, Sydney Pioquinto, Rhadja Silva and Brenda Zamora Chavez.
To be eligible for the award designation, students had to maintain a B average throughout high school, pass their English I and English II End of Course exams and achieve a score of 3 or higher on an advanced placement test in an upper level foreign language course. Among the honorees, six were members of the 2021 Top Ten Percent, including Zamora Chavez who was valedictorian.
“The Seal of Biliteracy is a national award that has been adopted by the state, with the Texas Education Agency setting the criteria,” said Christy Burton, CISD director of World Languages. “We felt in implementing the Seal of Biliteracy initiative at the high school it would be a good opportunity for our students, in recognizing them for their unique skills. They have mastered biliteracy, bilingualism and multiculturalism, which are the three pillars within bilingual education. It is a statement of accomplishment for both college admissions and future employment.
The Seal of Biliteracy designation is included on the graduate’s transcript and an actual seal on their diploma.
“Despite the challenges of COVID, our number of honorees grew from 10 in 2019-20 to 15 this year,” Burton said. “I credit our teachers in the CHS Foreign Language Department for the important role they provided in the achievements of these students. They seek out students to take on the level of academic commitment required for the Seal of Biliteracy, and encourage them as they work toward the achievement. These teachers amaze me with their level of dedication.”
Silva, who was among the academic leaders within the Class of 2021, came to Cleburne from Brazil. When she enrolled as a fourth-grader at Santa Fe Elementary School, Portuguese was her first — and only language.
“It was so terrifying,” Silva said. “It was hard to be in a place where I was not understood, and didn’t know what people were saying to me or about me.”
The Santa Fe staff, led by her bilingual teacher Marcia Byrd, a fellow native of Brazil whose first language is also Portuguese, worked quickly to take the “terror” out of Silva’s transition to Texas. At the end of the school day, English as a Second Language Specialist Amy Easter would take over as Silva used Rosetta Stone language software to build on her mastery of a second language.
“I knew it was necessary for me to learn English,” Silva said. “In Brazil, we learned some English — the colors, the names of animals — but that was far from learning a whole new language.”
By the second half of her fifth-grade year, Silva reached a major milestone in her pursuit of English. She attributes her drive and determination, coupled with the support she received from Byrd.
“I think by the middle of fifth grade I was bilingual,” she said. “Everything just clicked. By the fifth grade I could have a normal conversation in English with anyone, while still speaking Portuguese at home. My determination to learn played a big part. I was trying so hard to speak in English — and understand. It took a lot of perseverance. Mrs. Byrd was my teacher, but also a great comfort to me. She was someone who understood my circumstances. Thanks to her, I also began learning Spanish.”
By the time she was in high school, Silva was showing her proficiency in her third language, in making a perfect score on the Spanish 4 AP exam.
“I was real proud of myself for that,” she said. “In learning English, then Spanish, I had to try harder, and be more determined — but that helped me get where I am. Receiving the Seal of Biliteracy made me think back to the fourth grade and that early struggle to learn English. This award gave me such a feeling of accomplishment.”
In addition to finishing in the Top Ten Percent, Silva was president of Rotary International’s Interact Club for high school students, served as parliamentarian of National Honor Society and was president of National Spanish Honor Society. Silva competed three years on the Showstoppers Dance Team, serving as captain as a senior.
She also achieved her certified nurse aide state certification as a health sciences student in the CHS Career and Technical Education program. Silva is now living in College Station and about to begin her first semester at Texas A&M University, where she is double majoring in biology and Spanish, with a minor in pre-med. She is also working as a CNA on the surgical floor at Baylor Scott and White Medical Center.
“Adding the Seal of Biliteracy national recognition is a reflection of the opportunities we want to make available to students in CISD,” Burton said. “As students’ transition from the 50/50 dual language model, this is the final milestone in their bilingual journey that starts in kindergarten.
“With the numbers we are seeing in our dual language program, and how it is expanding to middle school, it ensures our students will be able to participate and achieve in high school, including the rigors of advanced placement courses,” Burton said. “It’s also exciting in hearing from bilingual teachers interested in our district and what we are doing in our two-way dual language initiative.”
VALDOSTA – Lowndes High School has named Bryson Bennett as 2021 STAR student.
The Student Teacher Achievement Recognition program honors Georgia’s highest achieving high school seniors and the teachers who have been most instrumental in their academic development, school officials said in a statement.
To obtain the 2021 STAR nomination, graduating high school seniors must have the highest score on a single test date on the SAT and be in the top 10% or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average.
Bennett qualified with a score of 1500 on a single test date.
He chose Daniel Drummond as his STAR teacher.
“I chose Mr. Drummond as STAR teacher because he embodies what it means to be a good teacher,” Bennett said. “Mr. Drummond invested in us as students. He worked just as hard as we did to make sure we could all succeed. Mr. Drummond gave us the freedom to be creative and do things our own way. He was also innovative and used out-of-the-box examples and demonstrations to make learning easier. Mr. Drummond created a positive learning environment, where despite students’ differences; we all worked together for the betterment of each other.”
Drummond said, “Bryson is one of the smartest and most inquisitive students I have ever taught. There are tons of brilliant students but what sets him apart is the genuine curiosity he shows for learning new concepts. He never stopped at the minimum expected, but instead, Bryson routinely tried to expand and incorporate other knowledge into current lessons and assignments. He showed his character and work ethic when he continued to work just as hard after the COVID shut down last year. Not only did I teach Bryson but I also saw him learn and grow through Mu Alpha Theta and the math team. Both in the classroom and out, Bryson was always willing to help out anyone that needed it. Bryson’s hard work is and will continue to pay off.”
Bennett has been active at Lowndes High School during the past four years. He is a member of the Lowndes High Georgia Bridgemen, the math team and the Mu Alpha Theta Math Club, the Science Olympiad/Club, and the Beta Club. He was also an AP Scholar and a National Merit commended scholar.
Bryson plans to major in computer systems engineering at the University of Georgia. He will pursue a career in software engineering, school officials said.