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Heath Elementary School enters Youth Coding League Finals, Asks for Community Votes

Heath Elementary School has progressed to the finals of the Youth Coding League (YCL), a regional competitive, after-school coding program. Through noon on Friday, December 11, the public can vote for the Heath Coding Pirates at YouthCodingLeague.com/Playoffs.

Votes help bring Heath across the finish line for a team win in the coding competition. Heath is the only Kentucky school in the YCL finals.

The fifth graders on Heath’s team have spent a semester learning the coding language Scratch to create a group project. Kids develop logical thinking and problem-solving skills through coding, empowering them to take part in the digital workplace of the future.

“YCL is very fun and I love to learn the computer commands. I also enjoy hanging out with my friends and learning how to problem-solve,” said Zachary Kopischke, 5th grader at Heath Elementary and YCL team member.

The YCL team is coached by Heath's second-grade teacher Jennifer Solomon.

“This year was so different starting out, and I was excited to start coaching the Youth Coding League,” said Solomon. “We started doing virtual practice at the beginning of the year, then gradually moved to in person, and back to virtual during the playoff weeks. The students have worked so well together and it has been great to see how much they have learned about themselves as well as coding. I’m so proud of their hard work in such a difficult time. They really took it on full force and worked so hard to learn the system and how to work Scratch.”

The Youth Coding League is the only competitive, after-school coding program designed to teach 5th-8th graders how to code, and uses an innovative project-based learning format based on a youth sports model. The Youth Coding League is sponsored in Paducah by the McCracken County Public Library and is a part of Sprocket and Codefi's partnership to train digital workers and entrepreneurs, build and attract software-focused companies, and create community spaces to expand the digital economy in rural communities.

"We are thrilled to see Heath Elementary having so much success in the postseason of the Youth Coding League,” said Codefi Director of Public Relations Stacy Dohogne Lane. “These young coders and their coach have worked so hard during an unpredictable semester to learn the basics of computer science, and it's wonderful to see their dedication and tenacity taking them this far into a fiercely competitive playoff series. This is Heath's first attempt at a postseason Championship - their first semester on the YCL roster was last spring when we had to wrap up early due to COVID - and we wish them success in the Final round.”

Beginning in 2020, McCracken County Public Library has provided support for Paducah schools to participate in Youth Coding League. Library Director Susan Baier said programs like YCL can have a transformational impact on kids and communities.

“YCL gives kids the opportunity to participate in team extracurriculars in a new and innovative way. The coders are having a lot of fun solving puzzles and finding creative solutions, but they are also building skills that will be the foundation for their education and entry into the workforce,” said Baier. “A vote for Heath is a vote of confidence and support for our community’s future, and we ask everyone to take a minute to vote for our kids and help them go all the way in this post season competition.”

To learn more about Youth Coding League, visit www.youthcodingleague.com.

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