The first round of the Girls Who Code club will wrap up Saturday at a graduation ceremony at SSI with a parent meeting to follow.

The girls will present their final project to their parents, a website designed to help students find a tutor.

Girls Who Code is a national club designed to teach girls they can be a part of the male dominated technology industry. Boys can also be a part of the club.

Math teacher Amy Skinner and SSI employee Jessamy Carruthers decided to start a branch in Shelbyville, because there are not many resources teaching students how to work with computers or to code.

"This was our first round, and I was really impressed with how the girls just picked it up and started running with it," Skinner said.

Carruthers said the first round went very well, and the girls were excited and confident.

“I think we’ll continue learning more about how to teach it and how to get the girls engaged,” she said. “(The girls) all seem to be very enthusiastic.”

Changes will be made when the second round of the club starts next Thursday.

“We might offer a little more guidance than we did last time, because we were just figuring it out, and they were figuring it out with us,” Skinner said. “They were really good troopers.”

The girls who completed the first round of the club are welcome to return to the second round. They may act as group leaders. Instead of meeting on Mondays, the group will begin to meet on Thursdays.

Skinner said she changed the day of the week to mix things up and to see if it opens up a time for those who want to participate.

She feels a lot more prepared to run the second club.

With a $400 grant, the group purchased five programmable robots that recognize light, sounds and follow commands.

Despite the name of the organization being “Girls Who Code,” Skinner wants to assure boys they can also participate.

“I have had a couple boys say they were interested,” she said. “It’s just the name that gets them. I understand it’s supposed to be a community for girls, but there are also not really other resources around for boys.”

Seventh-grader Abby Tomlin said being a part of Girls Who Code was a lot of fun and enjoyed making friends.

Tomlin said it is cool being able to tell people she knows how to code. She particularly enjoyed making the website and programming robots.

Advice she gives newcomers is “If you’re very shy, you can meet new friends and get really close.”

Not only is the group able to hang out with friends, they are also simultaneously learning.

Sixth-grader Isabella Miller said being in the club helped with her typing skills. She said she was unfamiliar with computers before joining, but learned a lot.

Seventh-grader Anna Tynan said, “It was a cool way to get to know the computers.”

Tynan’s father is a teacher, so she hopes his students will eventually utilize the website the group made for tutoring purposes.

Completing the Girls Who Code program is a “good accomplishment,” she said. “It motivates you.”

Kennedy Nolen can be reached at kennedy.nolen@shelbyvilledailyunion.com or 217-774-2161 etc. 1.

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