Girls Who Code coming to WEGO


Photo by Leslie Fireman

The inaugural Girls Who Code club members gather in the LRC on Oct. 21.

By Dhanveer Gill, Reporter

Girls Who Code, a multinational organization that aims to increase the number of girls and women in computer science careers, will form a club at West Chicago Community High School in the coming weeks.

Girls Who Code was founded in 2012 by American politician Reshma Saujani when she noticed that classrooms across the United States that taught computer-related skills included  significantly less girls when compared to boys. Since then, at least 500,000 girls around the world have been reached by Girls Who Code.

“I wanted to start the Girls Who Code chapter at our school to give students at our school more opportunities to learn how to code. I’ve been attending clubs like this since I turned 11 and I’m very passionate about it,” said junior Judith Benitez.

Recently, she applied for the creation of a Girls Who Code division at the school, which would give girls in West Chicago, Carol Stream and Winfield an opportunity to learn how to code in an inclusive environment.

“There is no competition. It’s more [about] building a community. There’s three pillars to Girls Who Code mission; one is building a community, one is learning to code, and the other one is exploring technology in the community, so careers and other tech things that are happening around the world,” said Library Media Specialist Amy Grabowski, the current sponsor of the club.

The club will be open to all students, however, the curriculum is geared specifically towards girls and attempting to close gender inequality in technology-related fields. 

American politician Reshma Saujani, Girls Who Code founder. (Photo by Wikipedia)

While the name is Girls Who Code, the club is inclusive towards everyone, regardless of gender. So everyone should join! There is also no experience needed so it’s accessible to everyone,” said Benitez.

Students can find Grabowski in the Learning Resource Center and let her know about their interest in joining Girls Who Code, or they can join the Google Classroom to stay up-to-date with the latest announcements using the code sndnblk.

“[Girls Who Code], they publish a curriculum and activities for the Girls Who Code clubs to follow. We’ll start up our section of the club and we will meet once a week to start with,” said Grabowski.

Girls Who Code plans to meet Fridays after school, while the pilot meeting is anticipated for Sept. 30. There is no application process, and students may attend the pilot meeting for more specific information.

Given that Grabowski has a coding background, the club aims to educate all of the participants in a fun and inclusive way, although no prior coding experience is necessary.

“I think all of our clubs offer a lot of opportunities for our students. I especially think it is valuable when students can take something they learn in class and apply to an extracurricular activity, whether that is STEM related like Robotics, or something else that a student is passionate about,” said Marc Wolfe, the Division Head of Career & Technical Education and Director of Student Activities.

The club plans to go over a brief introduction to Girls Who Code, enroll into the Girls Who Code HQ, and decide on their first big project during their first meeting.

“I’m very excited. I hope that we have a lot of people that are interested, and it’s such a great career, so I hope that a lot of people come and take advantage of it and find a new thing they’re interested in,” said Grabowski.