We were able to get into our classroom for the first time today, but that wasn’t the best thing that happened, although, as you’ll see, our classroom is pretty nice.
We (my TAs and I) met at Accenture at noon today, and were greeted by Katie and Jen who brought us up to our room on the 36th floor. Richard and David were there setting up the laptops for the students. First, I have to commend every Accenture employee, about 20 so far, we’ve interacted with – they have been so, so responsive, friendly, helpful, and absolutely bent on making this the best experience possible for both the students and the teaching staff. They all have full time jobs, but have made this program an exceedingly high priority. Props to Accenture for allowing them to follow their passions. They all work so well together, even though many are meeting each other face-to-face for the first time.
Our room. Wow. It was completed less than a year ago in a remodel and has a lot of the latest meeting room technology, like a single, removable panel (almost like a tablet) which controls the lights, display monitors, shades, audio, everything. The building is about a block and a half south of the Chicago River, across the street from the Thompson Center. Our room, as I mentioned, is on the 36th floor, facing north. From it, we can see the river and miles and miles to the north-northwest. Simply spectacular, though the view from the cafeteria, where Accenture will generously be providing us with daily lunch, is even more so – it faces east and looks out over Millennium Park and the lake.
The most exciting part about today was finally getting to meet the students and some of their parents at our Meet and Greet. It was almost like an open house at school, except the food and the view are way better. And there was a lot of food – the guacamole alone would have overfilled any bowl I have at my home in Connecticut.
The students – so bright, excited and friendly. I met Vanessa, Dami (whose first name is much longer than that and means “God has rewarded me with wealth” – I promised to learn her full name before the end of the week), Naissa, Yu Jing, Bella (and her sister Rosie), Erica, Kayla, Briannah and Jessica, as well as many of their family members. This is a very diverse set of young women, in terms of ethnicity, socioeconomic background, personality, and level of coding experience.
I happened to remember some of Vanessa’s application – namely that she was involved in her high school’s radio station and an anti-substance abuse program called Operation Snowball, which she will be the director of next year. She was completely stunned (and pleased) that I knew anything about her (so were her parents). In all honesty, I had just read her bio about an hour before and thought she might be a good candidate for one of the GWC media outreach programs.
Because of her excitement, right here, right now, I am taking a personal (and since you’re reading this, public) vow to know every student’s bio before they walk in Monday morning. That should set a positive, respectful tone for the rest of the summer. Plus, it’s only memorizing a bunch of stuff. Hmm, I also have their pictures, so maybe I can also know their names as they walk in – since I met so many tonight, I’m already halfway there.