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Cracking the code

Sapphira holds the snowflake she created in Coding Club

Camelot Elementary School fifth grader Sapphira Renninger knows exactly what she wants to be when she grows up.

“It’s my dream to be a video game designer when I grow up, and I can’t do that until I learn how to code,” said Renninger.

She’s well on her way to accomplishing all of her dreams thanks to her mentors from the Design and Technology Academy (DATA) at Ed White Middle School.

Every week, the Coder Pals visit Camelot and take elementary students step-by-step through coding exercises. DATA students like Cameron Gallero are able to do this through a partnership with Youth Code Jam Texas and the Rackspace Foundation. While his peers mentored kids in Camelot’s Coding Club, Cameron worked virtually with students nearby at Montgomery Elementary School.

“I love seeing the kids figure stuff out because you can see that spark when they get through a challenge and it’s really cool,” said Gallero. “They can work their way up with these skills through high school and then they’ll have all the knowledge they need to get a good paying job after college in the industry they’re interested in.”

Gallero has loved everything related to technology since elementary school. He chose DATA because of its emphasis on industry-level design, technology and science courses. His experience has lived up to his very high expectations.  

“I’ve always been interested in the technology industry,” explained Gallero. “When I found out there was a technology school that was on a higher level, I had to be a part of it. I came here because I wanted to be challenged and learn new things and that’s exactly what’s happened.”

Sapphira hopes to follow in Cameron’s footsteps at DATA next year. Reserve your spot at DATA for the 2022-2023 school year by visiting

The Coder Pals also mentor Walzem, Windcrest, Montgomery, Serna and East Terrell Hills Elementary School students weekly.

Two Camelot students listen intently to their Coder Pal Cameron Zooms with the Montgomery coding club

A Coder Pal walks students through the snowflake challenge Caleb in the coding club works on his computer

Posted by Lila Stanley
Posted on 11-15-21