Founder’s Note, September 2018

Welcome Fall! September is my favorite month. School starts, the weather cools. To me, this is the real beginning of the year. It’s when I inevitably start to gear things up which leads to me clearing things out (can I hear it for KonMari?).

After receiving a record number of applications in the Spring, we welcomed and graduated 142 students in this year’s Summer Intensive.

Our class of 2018 hailed from as far as Hackettstown, NJ and Briarwood, New York to Monroeville, Philadelphia. They attended cohorts in NYC and Pittsburgh, located at eight host sites, including Cisco, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Oath, MLB, Medidata, and Chatham University and the University of Pittsburgh. We also welcomed 30 guest speakers, 38 seasonal staff, and 8 teachers.

Each summer is a life-changing experience for both our students and teachers. At the beginning of the summer, our students walk into the classroom tense and uncertain. By the end of the six-week experience, there’s a whole different young man there. Their eyes are up, their chests are high, and they know they belong inside some of the best organizations in the country. We know that if you can’t see it, you can’t be it. The Summer Intensive provides students access to real-life work environments and allows for our young men to see what they can be.

During the six-week course, students are introduced to essential web development skills, while cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset, teaching soft skills and providing a network of peers who also love building things that matter. The curriculum is built on the foundation of the “growth mindset,” with the guiding principles of “daring greatly,” “celebrating failure” and “telling your story.”

I’m so grateful to all the people who make it happen each year. The teachers and seasonal staff who are the true change agents; the host sites that expose our young men to professional work culture and tech; and the parents who trust us with their children.

On August 17th, we concluded our Summer Intensive with our students pitching to an audience of students, proud parents, entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, and employees of both the host companies and All Star Code.

It is always such a thrill to see the students pitch and demo their projects. Demo Day is a unique opportunity for students to put their ideas and projects to test in front of their peers, mentors, and parents. This year along with speakers drawn from each host company, who volunteered their time and wisdom to give to our young graduating All Stars.

With the conclusion of this year’s Summer Intensive, we now have 433 All Stars in our growing community. We have renamed the alumni from our program “All Star Scholars”. We believe in establishing a pipeline of talented and ambitious young entrepreneurs who are ready to enter the tech industry and will continue to engage them in programming and events all year round.

Challenges? We still have them! Earlier this year we shared that we received 1000 student applications. After much due diligence, we found that the number (although still record breaking), was 835. As we grow our program, we are committed to refining the accuracy of our internal reporting and data.

Thank you to our major funders: The Reginald F. Lewis Foundation, AT&T, Heinz Endowments, Google, Achelis and Bodman Foundation, MLB, Medidata, Goldman Sachs, JPMC, Siris Capital, Microsoft, Cisco, Loida Nicolas Lewis, and David B. Orr. Our champions have played a pivotal role in our expansion and growth, and the success of All Star Code would not be possible without them.

About the Author

Christina Lewis is the Founder & CEO of All Star Code.

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