By Margaret King
Enrolling in Program your Future hasn’t just allowed Callianna Priebe to master web development skills. She has also benefited in less expected ways, like becoming a stronger presenter and learning to work more effectively as part of a team.
Callie, who is going into 10th grade at Patrick Henry High School in the San Carlos area, registered last fall for the year-long Front-End Web Development program. “My mom got a flyer, and it sounded like a really great opportunity,” she says, “so I took a leap of faith and applied.”
At the end of the 1-year program in September, Callie will receive a UC San Diego Extension certificate and credits. Students who finish shorter courses get an award of completion.
Callie brought a strong coding background to Program Your Future. She has been programming since third grade, and since middle school, she has worked summers at a computer camp teaching younger students.
But despite her experience, she feels adequately challenged in the Program Your Future classes. “The instructors are really good at matching the curriculum to the student and getting a feel for each student’s level,” she says.
In the courses so far, students have created various websites to demonstrate that they have learned to use the different computer languages and libraries. In the current course, students are working in teams on a major project to create a commercial-type website.
Callie and her team thought carefully about what kind of website to create. “Our instructor made sure to give us a lot of time to brainstorm,” she says. “We started by wanting it to be unique. We wanted to create something that didn’t exist yet.”
In searching for a subject, Callie drew on her longtime love for art – she has drawn and painted since she was very young. The team decided on a website to teach people about color theory and why certain colors look good together.
She predicts the website will be of interest to lots of different users: “I definitely think painters or artists could use it, or people who need a color scheme for something, or anyone interested in the science of colors and optics in general.”
Projects like this have helped Callie get more comfortable working as part of a team. “I’m not the best at group projects,” she says. “I tend to like to do a lot of the work myself. But this definitely has taught me to work better with other people.”
She also has benefited from presenting her projects to the class. “I’ve never been particularly good at presenting, but the environment of the class made it so there was very little pressure,” she says. “You’re really proud of your work, so you’re happy to show off what you’ve done.”
At school Callie juggles an eclectic assortment of extracurricular activities, including cheer, dance, acrobatics and Academic League. She’s also incoming president of the Rock Band Club – she sings and plays rhythm guitar in a heavy metal band called Chaos Bound. Yet she finds a way to fit the weekly Program Your Future classes into her hectic schedule.
“It’s a very laid-back class,” she explains. “It doesn’t put a lot of pressure on you, and it encourages you to learn.”
As for her future plans, Callie takes inspiration from her dad, a software developer, and her mom, a real estate investor. “I am 100 percent devoted to going into software development, so I plan to major in computer science,” she says. “I might also want to get a minor if finance so I could also be a real estate investor.”
Program Your Future may end up influencing her career plans, too. “I wasn’t that interested in web development before I took this course, but it turns out to be really interesting,” she says.
Above all, Callie appreciates the positive atmosphere of the classes. “The instructors seem to really care about the students,” she says. “And I love that the people teaching it are really passionate about what they’re doing.”