Students taking the initiative

There’s nothing more inspiring than students stepping into leadership roles.

On the Milpitas Extension campus, we have two afterschool programs that are managed and taught by a group of students from Milpitas High School. The programs are called Stallion Science and CoderDojo, and they’re offered to students from elementary school all the way to high school.

The programs are run every Friday from 4pm-8pm.

CoderDojo started being run out of the Extension during the summer of 2019. MHS Junior Havi Le is the one responsible for setting it in motion.

"When I first started high school, I started joining all the clubs, because I wasn’t sure what I liked,” said Havi. She gravitated toward some computer science-related clubs, but wasn’t really sure how to program. Not letting that little detail stop her, Havi went online to look for computer science classes. She began taking the classes, but realized how inconvenient it all was.

“The classes were too far and also pricey,” said Havi.

So she did a little more research and found a nonprofit organization called CoderDojo, which is based in Ireland. She discovered that it was a program that people were able to charter and bring to all different parts of the world.

Driven by a desire to learn more about Computer Science, and to share the resulting knowledge with others, Havi got up early one morning — at 5:30am — to attend an online CodoDojo seminar. She learned all about the program and asked if it was possible for her, as a minor, to bring it to Milpitas. And the answer was a resounding “yes.”

This was at the beginning of her sophomore year.

By the Spring of her sophomore year, she was already running the program out of the Milpitas Library. However, due to renovations at the library, Havi had to soon find a new home for CoderDojo. So the program started at the Milpitas Extension last summer, and has been there ever since.

Havi has joined forces with other volunteers, as well as Christine Ma and Amy Law, who both founded the Stallion Science program.

"I’ve been in this school district my whole life,” said Christine, a senior at MHS. "When my younger sister would complain a lot about not having extracurriculars after school, I realized I didn’t have too many options either. And I thought it would be nice to start something that my sister and others could have.”

Last Spring, Stallion Science was launched at Curtner Elementary School. During their first session at Curtner, they performed over 200 science experiments.

“We specifically target 3rd-graders since that’s the year before they start taking Science,” said Christine. "Mrs. Hartman-Hernandez [the principal] was eager to work with us and help us figure out the logistics.”

The program is still running strong at Curtner after school on Wednesdays. However, its name has been switched to Eagle Science, since Curtner officially changed their mascot from the Stallion to the Eagle toward the end of 2019.

“We have different branch managers for the different locations. And there are about 5 or 6 people who work the program, along with some volunteers that come and go,” said Christine.

At the Extension, Havi also helps to teach Stallion Science in two-hour spans, while teaching the CoderDojo every other Friday.

The Milpitas Extension is honored to be the site for both of these programs, which bring more educational opportunities and experiences to students throughout the community.