Sherman High computer science students embrace challenges | News | coalvalleynews.com – The Coal Valley News

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Partly cloudy skies. High around 75F. Winds S at 10 to 15 mph..
Clear to partly cloudy. Low 57F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.
Updated: November 17, 2021 @ 8:08 am
Randy Herron’s computer science students at Sherman High are learning coding, drone operation, video production and more. Here, they demonstrate drone skills to students at Whitesville Elementary.
Randy Herron’s computer science students at Sherman High are learning coding, drone operation, video production and more.
Randy Herron’s computer science students at Sherman High are learning coding, drone operation, video production and more. Here, they demonstrate drone skills to students at Whitesville Elementary.

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Randy Herron’s computer science students at Sherman High are learning coding, drone operation, video production and more. Here, they demonstrate drone skills to students at Whitesville Elementary.
Randy Herron’s computer science students at Sherman High are learning coding, drone operation, video production and more.
Randy Herron’s computer science students at Sherman High are learning coding, drone operation, video production and more. Here, they demonstrate drone skills to students at Whitesville Elementary.
SETH — For Randy Herron’s computer science students at Sherman High, setting the bar high for achievement is part of the motivation process.
“Sometimes students avoid this class as an elective because they think there is too much math in it or it may bring their GPA down because of the difficulty involved,” said Herron. “For the ones who take the leap, they are always glad they did because, while it is challenging, it’s incredibly rewarding. We have smart kids in this county capable of great things, given the chance.”
Herron, 65, has been the computer tsar at Sherman High for over 40 years and remembers the first computers in the lab located on the far end of the school near the junior high. He was thankful at the time for the early IBM and Apple II Ds that he was provided to work with, but with technological advancements over four decades, he could have never dreamed what technology would be available in 2021. He is also thankful that Boone County Schools were ahead of the curve and pushed technology in the early years.
He has seen former students reach success in technology industries, and some of them remain in touch and give back to his classroom in various capacities.
“The thing about what I do is, if I don’t stay relevant and on top of technology, I become a dinosaur,” he said. “I tell my students that continuing education is always important. Don’t ever stop learning or think you know it all. There is something bigger, better and faster at every turn.”
Herron’s students learn a variety of skills. In the GMETRIX (Microsoft Office Training Specialist) Training modules, Jackson Foster and Colten Doss focus on computer applications.
“What this does is teaches us everything about (MS) Office,” said Doss. “So, it actually it is much deeper than people generally think it is. We have projects that show the skills we’ve learned through the process.”
He said that creating charts through the software is his favorite element that he has learned and can apply to future work.
“I think some of the simple features of (MS) Word can be overlooked and I have learned to save things properly and how to save things in various places, and now I can take my work with me on a drive and those things are really helpful,” said Foster.
The Amazon Engineering Program Project STEM team is supported by the online retail giant as a way to promote skills needed in the field of online retail and related management of digital properties.
The field is growing, and workers are needed to meet the demand for skilled engineers.
Seth Mollohan and Trent Keith are programmers in the class.
“This is a project that Amazon has made for young programmers who may want to do this later on in life,” Mollohan said. So far we’ve been learning Python in this which is a computer programming language and it is very connected to Amazon.”
According to Python, it is “an interpreted high-level general-purpose programming language. Its design philosophy emphasizes code readability with its use of significant indentation. Its language constructs as well as its object-oriented approach aim to help programmers write clear, logical code for small and large-scale projects.”
Through the overall class curriculum, students also learn the finer points of tried-and-true classic HTML coding, which assists with building web pages.
“I’m more interested in coding and I love gaming,” said Keith. “It is much easier for me to understand versus HTML. We’ve learned QV64 and we can create circles and triangles and unique shapes that can be used in multiple applications. Computer science is definitely the career path I want to go to college for.”
Bryan Mills serves as a computer science assistant, programmer, drone pilot and coordinator.
“The majority of the time I’m doing technical work around the school,” he said. “When I’m not doing that, I’m generally outside working with the drone and taking photographs of the school. Today, we are taking the drone to Whitesville Elementary School and eventually we’ll take it to all of the elementary schools.”
Boone County Schools Tech Specialist Doug Matheny will often provide projects for the computer science assistants to complete, which serves as part of their class curriculum efforts.
Mills sees computer science as a career path for himself.
“The computer science and technology industry is growing every single day,” he said.
Isaac Mortimer works on the video side as a computer science assistant.
“I think we probably do things that people may not realize and we can end up saving the school system a lot of money, which is great,” he said. “Just recently, we upgraded all of the RAM chips in our computers and we worked one day putting new office chairs together for the classroom. I volunteer for these projects.”
Mortimer also sees computer science as a springboard to a future career.
Brayden Mooney and Madason Snodgrass, first-year students in the program, concentrate on video/programming and both said they have been inspired by a class that they were hesitant to take but found that it has piqued their interest to learn more.
They are glad they took the plunge.
All computer science classes at Sherman High will participate in “Hour of Code Week” from Dec. 6 to Dec. 10.
The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code,” to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with one-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts. This campaign is supported by over 400 partners and 200,000 educators worldwide.
Later that afternoon, members of the class, including drone pilot Mills, visited Whitesville Elementary School, where Principal Chris Duncan was appreciative.
“It really gives a young student something to look forward to later on in their educational path and maybe they can do this when they get to high school and it plants that seed in them in terms of what is available to them,” he said. “There are people who do this for a living and it can be a career path. When the pandemic hit, we had invested some money in small drones and (physical education teacher) Mr. (Aaron) Pauley had just started teaching them how to fly them.”
Pauley said the Whitesville Elementary students had been excited all day for the special visit.
“When we have the older kids — especially third-, fourth- and fifth-graders — who finish all of their work and caught up on everything, we will pull them in and do science experiments and set up teams and we compete a little bit. We may create rockets and safely shoot them off outside. They really enjoy it and sometimes it provides an incentive for kids to do better in class. We are going to get back to the drones in the spring and we have a 3-D printer that we are going to do some things with Minecraft that will spark their interest. What the high schoolers are doing here today is a great thing, and these kids love it and the teachers appreciate them taking time out for us and our kids.”
Sherman High Computer Science Instructor Randy Herron can be reached at rherron@k12.wv.us.
Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at 304-307-2401.
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