Published in the December 13, 2017 edition


LYNNFIELD — Sixteen Lynnfield High School students gave younger kids a coding lesson at the two elementary schools Dec. 7.

The grade schools participated in the Hour of Code as part of Computer Science Week. Hour of Code strives to give young students a one hour introduction to computer science by teaching students coding basics.

LHS SENIOR Nick Moreschi gives third graders Callie Donovan (center) and Lily MacEachern a coding lesson. (Dan Tomasello Photo)

The high school students who gave the coding lesson to second and third graders were Brianna Barrett, Taylor Tringali, Anna Maria Ferrante, Jack Madden, Nick Moreschi, Robert Kelter, Joe Haas, David Henriques, Miles McKay, Zade Omar, Quinn Adams, Alex Cotter, Alexis Robles, Chris Ryan, Adam Ring and Alex Lin.

High school students have undertaken the Hour of Code initiative for the past three years. The LHS students were either from Audrey Coats’ Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science class, a new computer science club or are members of LHS’ Student Help Desk.

“This year, we chose second and third grade students to participate,” said Digital Learning Coach Sarah Perkins in an interview with the Villager. “First grade students have already been exposed to coding through their curriculum, and we thought the excitement level for second and third grade would really be strong.”

Coats agreed.

“This is our third year doing this and we definitely want it to be an annual event so it’s something the kids look forward to,” said Coats. “I know my kids were very eager to help the younger kids. They were excited to teach what they learned in addition to seeing where they came from and seeing their former teachers again.”

As part of the Hour of Code, Perkins said students used activities provided by, which is the organization that hosts Computer Science Education Week.

“The two activities we chose were Minecraft, which is wildly popular with students,” said Perkins. “A lot of students play Minecraft during their own personal time. Another one that is new this year is called Myra’s Dream, which is more like a video game where the kids have a character jump and fly.”

High School senior Nick Moreschi said he enjoyed teaching elementary students about coding.

“It’s a fun learning process with the younger kids,” said Moreschi.

High school junior Brianna Barrett concurred with Moreschi’s point of view.

“I really enjoyed helping these little kids learn how to code and teach them some of the things we do at the high school,” said Barrett. “This has really helped me realize maybe I should go into education in the future.”

Perkins said the Hour of Code initiative is a great opportunity to expose more students to coding.

“For the high school students, we want to expose them to teaching the younger students what they have learned throughout the years and show just a snapshot of what their world looks like at the high school level,” said Perkins. “For the elementary students, it’s really an opportunity for them to see what coding looks like even five or six years from now, and where they can take their interest in coding and bring it to the next level.”

Coats said, “We want to get the second and third graders excited about coding so we can grow the program in high school.”

“At the high school right now, we are running one computer science class and I think that is something that needs to expand,” Coats continued. “The more we can get kids excited at a younger age, the more they are going to want to know at the high school level.”

Perkins noted a number of high school students said they were “impressed how many elementary age kids were coding and knew how to code.”

“From a teacher’s prospective, seeing that grow as they go through middle school and onto high school will hopefully develop more interest in high school,” said Perkins.

“An offshoot of this is I have had students every year say to me ‘How to do I train to become a teacher?’” added Coats. “This has sparked their excitement to teach kids and gives them ideas about the future.”

As part of an effort to build on the Hour of Code initiative, Educational Technology Director Stephanie Hoban said Community Schools will be offering a program this summer that will allow high school students teach elementary students coding.

“Audrey’s students would be the frontrunners for those participants, and they are getting a little exposure (to) what it’s like to teach a kid coding, programming and (being around) younger kids in general,” said Hoban.

Hoban thanked Perkins and Coats for getting the Hour of Code initiative off the ground. Perkins also thanked LHS officials, Huckleberry Hill School Principal Brian Bemiss and Summer Street School Interim Principal Gregory Hurray for their support.