The future coders of America: Google’s Code Next graduates its first cohorts

What does it take to make a computer scientist? Equipment? Sure. Sufficient learning opportunities? Sounds about right. Passion, enthusiasm, and a motivation to change the world? According to the recent graduates of the Code Next Launch program, those last few items are non-negotiables.

New York City’s Andrea Fernandez gets high fives from her fellow Code Next students.
Code Next, a free, Google-run computer science education program for Black and Hispanic high schoolers, started nearly three years ago as an idea sprung from the brain of Google's Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Nilka Thomas. In a commitment to cultivating young Black and Hispanic tech leaders, Code Next’s first signature program, a ninth through tenth grade crash-course in computer science and leadership called Team Edge, began with 37 eighth graders in two labs on opposite ends of the country—one in New York City and one in Oakland—in the spring of 2016.

Now, fresh out of the tenth grade, those same 37 students have graduated from the Team Edge program with a deep knowledge of programming, several prototypes of apps and websites, and a competitive hackathon under their belts—not to mention Google mentors who met with them every week through the entirety of their tenth grade year.

Oakland's Devin Frisbey celebrates with her superlative award, given to her by her cohort-mates.
“This is an amazing and momentous occasion because these kids have been dedicating a significant amount of time to this program for three years,” shares April Alvarez, one of two original Student Experience Managers for Code Next and current Pipeline Programs Manager for the Pipeline and Integration Team. “This is a great example of what happens when communities come together with an organization like Google. Families and students get the support and resources they need to thrive in the tech world— an ever-changing job market—and Google witnesses the power of the innovations these kids bring to the table.”

Graduation celebrations took place in both New York City and Oakland at each cohort’s lab space, with several students sharing their work and learnings they’d collected from their first two years with Code Next.

Oakland student Jorvir Llanes shared his nostalgia and hopes for the future, saying, “Having a culture where we love each other like family and respect each other, including when we make mistakes, is great. I really want this culture to pass onto our rising tenth graders.”

New York City’s first-ever Code Next cohort celebrates their graduation from Team Edge.
“These kids are really growing into their roles as tech leaders, both here at Code Next and in their own schools and communities. It is going to be great seeing what happens when they are able to deep dive in areas of passion for each of them. We have kids who are already skilled at 3D design/modeling, animation, game development, back-end development, and much more,” says Idris Brewester, a New York City computer science coach who has been with Cohort One since the beginning.

But this is only the beginning, Brewster adds, as students are gearing up to move into the next phase in Code Next’s program offerings: the Launch program, aimed at 11th and 12th graders.

“I am excited to see them tackle those areas and use their robust foundation that they’ve developed over these last two years,” he smiles.

New York City, New York Cohort
Oakland, California Cohort
Andrea Fernandez
Gerardo Arteaga-Garcia
Andres Murillo
Salvador Avelar
Chelsea Lantigua
Bianca Burciaga
Cindy Hernandez
José Ceja Romero
Corey Carter
Elias Cruz
Gerald Howell
James Dominguez
Giovanni Taveras
Julio Flores
Julie Leon Marcos
Valeria Fornes
Justin Millien
Jessica Franco
Kaiya Idlett
Devin Frisbey
Kevin Medina
Lita Hernandez
Khemasia Pierce
Adalberto Jimenez
Maëlle Sannon
Jovir Llanes
Naia Crump
Orlando Molina
Odalis Bonilla
Emily Ronquillo
Raymond Koratrang
Edgar Suarez
Sarah George
Phu Vo
Shawn West

Tasnim Nahar

Yenry Simon

Congratulations to these 37 students. Interested in learning more about Code Next? Sign up for the quarterly newsletter to receive updates about the program.