CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Four students at John Marshall School of Information and Technology are using computer programming to make a difference in their communities.
Students Lionel Patterson, Raylon Jefferson, Jonathan Lee and Benjamin Olmeda felt obligated to spread their knowledge to younger students in the Cleveland area.
They came up with a series of workshops, called Learn My Fundamentals to introduce children to coding and all the potential career opportunities.
John Marshall IT offers three routes for students in the curriculum:
- Health IT
- Software development
The seniors are all on the software development track and have grown close over the past four years.
"It's been amazing to watching them develop," said educator and mentor Krystle Rivera, "I've watched them grow and stick to their promises and it's really inspiring."
Throughout the school year, the students visited a local community center as well as a K-8 middle school teaching students how to program through the free resources at code.org.
The boys go throughout the city teaching the youth how to code, in an effort to keep them off the streets.
They decided to reach out to the students after seeing so many of their loved ones go down the wrong paths.
"I grew up specifically around a lot of gang violence, I've had family members that were a part of gangs, and I've seen what they can do to your life", said Patterson.
The main objective was to show their peers that there are other outlets besides rapping and playing sports to make money.
The students were wise beyond their years and offered sound advice to their friends and family.
"You can make a ton of money off of coding" said Olmeda, "The person that coded Soundcloud, that's where all the money is - not rapping, coding."
Computer programming is one of the most lucrative fields in the job market so much so, that the average hourly wage in 2016 was $40.95.
"We're really proud of the boys promoting a positive message," said Principal Chelsey Cook, "The group has really taken a life of its own."
The boys are definitely feeling the love as time is winding down on their high school careers.
The students are all set to graduate on Saturday, May 26, and will attend college pursuing degrees in computer science.