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Class Spotlight: AP Computer Science

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AP Computer Science students prepare for their next test. Photo by Payton Schneider and Maddie Halvorson


Before the 2017-2018 school year, Bellarmine only offered the class Introduction to Computer Science, but this year, there is an AP Computer Science class as well.

Senior Maggie Smith says, “I really enjoy the class. The teachers have different ways to solve each question and challenge us to problem solve and strategize!” The class is led by Lila Transue and several volunteer teachers and teacher’s assistants with experience in the computer science field.

Transue is fascinated by the evolution of the com puter science industry: “I started programming in 1980. I was a computer science major but changed my major to chemistry. I love the problem solving and logic of this industry.”

This year the class has two periods, but the teaching team has hopes to expand the program into a club, increase the number of classes, and possible add another AP programming class. The volunteer teachers come from very unique work fields.

Volunteer teaching assistant Alexander Merk is a student at UW Tacoma who hopes to go into data-based research. Merk says, “It’s a really good way to get younger students interested in computer science earlier … A few decades ago they learned programming in upper level college classes… Now students have to start in high school to keep up with the growing advancements and complexities of the field.”

Senior Daniel Hicks loves the class. He plans to major in computer science so he is glad to get an early start on the learning material.

Ben Nutt, senior, agrees. “It’s just the right pace for people who want to go into the field.”

Sandy Halvorson, another volunteer teaching assistant, can be found working with an AAUW (American Association of University Women) summer camp that inspires middle school girls to pursue careers in STEM.

Furthermore, she has spent most of her career working in various aspects of Information Technology. She is loving her first teaching experience. Tim Brooks, volunteer teacher, works in mobile development.

Brooks says, “This is an extremely rewarding field, both personally and professionally, and I want students of all genders, races and creeds to experience the joy I have found in it.”

Sophomore Julia Bordeaux has discovered the same joy. She says, “Computer science requires a lot of critical thinking and problem solving that makes it different from other classes and extremely interesting.”

Another volunteer teacher, Mike Schneider, has worked in IT at Alaska Airlines, REI and Nordstrom. Schneider said, “When the robots take over the world, someone needs to write the code. Why not you?”

As technology evolves, there is a deeper need for more people to learn how to code and go into this field. As next year’s class registrations approach in early February, consider giving computer science a chance.

Although Caitie Burns,sophomore, was not sure if she she would like the class at first, she now says that, “it turned out to be my favorite.”

Although the class may seem daunting, it could be a perfect fit for a student.

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Class Spotlight: AP Computer Science