My Sophomore class ushered in a now annual De Anza High School tradition, the Free Fix Day. Free Fix Day is a day where community members can bring in the broken, ill repaired, slow, and old computers to be fixed for free. All students had to partake in this event. We arranged ourselves into groups and worked on the computers that we received on a typical 9 to 5 work day. It gave all of the students an opportunity to see what working a real IT job would be like. I liked the experience and so did all the other true nerds in the academy. It is what led me to wanting a job here at Nerd Crossing. After my senior year, I was able to have a summer-long, paid internship at Nerd Crossing, in which I helped out with computer repair, customer service, marketing, and business services.
Moving on to my Junior year I partook in the schools Video Production internship. In the program we recorded anything and everything that could have had value to the school or the parents of the students involved. We recorded and broadcasted all home and playoff football, boys basketball, girls basketball, boys volleyball, and girls volleyball. We also live streamed all opening and closing nights of school plays. We also had the wonderful opportunity of filming the De Anza High every 15 minutes movie, which for the first time was student filmed and edited in addition to having student actors. On top of all that we filmed and produced the Law Academy’s video presentation where three of the Video Production team members went on a field trip to Sacramento to interview a Supreme Court justice member, a Senator and a Congressman on why law is important and how the pathways are making a difference. We filmed, edited, produced, and published everything for that video and were paid to do it. The video production internship was an invaluable internship that provided me with the experience of an actual organization cameraman, editor, and producer.
My Junior year also provided me with another integrated project that went truly big. Our project was to use the skills and knowledge we learned through the tech academy to create free Wi-Fi network throughout the city of Richmond to bridge the ever growing technological gap that forms between the rich and the poor. We started by looking at other cities who had successfully created systems similar to our goal. We then branched of all of the junior class to research all possible aspects of what would go into the project; things like which routers to use how many to get how to setup and configure the system anything and everything that needed to be addressed for this to become a legitimate plan. This research phase took three month alone, however it prepared us for what was next. Once the the research was done our teacher and Academy lead revealed that 6 students would be selected to present our plan to the Richmond City Council. All of the juniors were collected to vote who should be a part of the final presentation. I was selected and promoted to project lead. We then had a month to consolidate all of our information into one final packet and presentation. We presented the idea to the City Council and they informed us that a different plan had already been put into effect. However, because of the thoroughness of our work the city promised 25 to 50 internship spots for all Tech Academy students with first choice going to De Anza Students. This project stuck out to me because it was one of those David vs Goliath kind of things that really made me feel like no matter how small you are, you can make a difference.
My senior year we opened the year with our integrated project–our senior defense and portfolio website. I really enjoyed the skills and process of building up my website and really making it personalized to me. I started from nothing and ended up building, coding and publishing this beautiful thing that was in its essence, me. I now have that website as a reference for any future tech endeavors and will continue to use it until I decide to start it over from scratch.
My senior year also provided me with the opportunity to apply for college. I went on college tours got to see places all over the country and got to do all sorts of college related things. I applied to 10 different school and was accepted to every single one of them. UC Berkeley, University of Oregon, Willamette University, Bethune Cookman University, Lincoln University, Morgan State, Prairie View A&M, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Drexel University, University of La Verne. I am very blessed to say that I got into all of these schools especially considering that I only had a 3.3 GPA. All of the schools informed me that I had a large list of extracurriculars that really allowed me to stand out from other “more qualified” applicants. I am very happy to say that I will be attending Prairie View A&M for next to nothing due to the scholarship for 90% of everything that I received.
The Information Technology is truly a place for students to grow and be great. The teachers and leads within the Academy always do their best to put the best opportunities in front of students and always urge us to step outside of our comfort zones to go and take advantage of those opportunities. Being in the ITA, I have had many doors opened up for me and am blessed enough to be able to step through them. “