Plainfield South High School juniors Nataly Escamilla and Megan Presbitero will take over the Aux Sable Middle School “Programming with Amaan and Jamison Club” from its founder next year.
PSHS senior and club founder Amaan Khan and his co-teacher senior Jamison Kerney will graduate this school year. They recruited Escamilla and Presbitero to keep the club going into its fourth year.
Khan and Kerney both attended Aux Sable. Khan formed the club at their former middle school after they went to high school with the goal of teaching middle school students how to use the Python computer programming software.
Khan met with Aux Sable administration in the fall of 2017 with the idea for the programming club, said Lori Deininger, a STEAM teacher at Aux Sable. She also provides classroom support for the club which meet afterschool on Mondays.
Khan asked Kerney to help him teach last year as the club grew, Deininger said.
“This club is giving the opportunity to middle schoolers that didn’t have it before,” Khan said in an interview earlier this year.
Kerney taught himself computer code in middle school by reading thick books, he said. His programming skills really improved when he found a teacher to help him, Kerney said.
“It’s the beginning point where most people need a lot of guidance and this club gives them that guidance,” Khan said.
Khan was helping Aux Sable eighth-grader Samantha “Sam” Nicotra during a club meeting in January while Kerney was looking over the shoulder of seventh-grade club member Sophia Mitchell.
Nicotra and Mitchell are first-year club members.
“Jamison and Amaan will help us and make sure we can figure out a problem on our own or at least help us figure it out on our own,” Nicotra said.
That teaching experience is one reason Presbitero is looking forward to leading the club next school year, she said.
Escamilla also is anxious to help students learn how to code, she said.
“And when a student writes a code and they get it right you can say ‘Yes, they got it right,’ and it’s really nice,” Escamilla said.
Presbitero and Escamilla have taken computer programming classes at PSHS.
“I think it’s interesting that using your own tools you can write a program that can pretty much do anything that you want it to do if you set your mind to it,” Presbitero said.