Sixth Pre-Professional program opens

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After more than 20 years of offering computer science classes, Heritage unveiled the official track this year. Though still a work in progress, students now have the option to focus on computer science.

Senior Dylan Riffle, one of the Vice Presidents and the creator of the cyber wallet Riffnote, presents on his experience with computer science and app development. (Photo submitted by Zaneer Mitha)

In order to “get with the times,” Heritage officially implemented the Computer Science Pre-Professional Track last year. School president Dr. Doug Laurie has pushed for the creation of the track in this era of technology.

The first class made part of the track was Computer Science Essentials, which provides students with rudimentary computer science skills as an introductory course. The second class, Programming with a Purpose, was introduced this year to build off the foundation of the first course. In this class, students learn various programming languages, program a robot, then program an app to self-write its code.

As for the more advanced parts of the track, two AP computer science classes are offered. Students on the track must take one or the other to graduate with the program. Ms. Marisa Behar, computer science teacher of 20 years and track advisor, calls the track a work in progress. “We’re in the process of developing senior level classes, and they will be offered next year,” she said. “We’re also developing an internship with Ultimate Software, which has helped teach classes here and has been instrumental in creating the track.”

While the Computer Science track can stand alone, students may have cross-track opportunities with engineering in the future. Further, as with most pre-professional programs, a Computer Science Society was subsequently created and is headed by juniors Zaneer Mitha and Alexander Romanenko.

“Coding is revolutionizing the world, and the need for computer science people in the workforce is highly in demand,” Ms. Behar said. “Every field will be affected by technology, so students should at least learn the basics. Coding should be a required class, because you do not learn the same critical thinking skills elsewhere that you get from coding.”

Mr. Rivero, a software engineer who teaches a Computer Science course, gives a guest speaker presentation to the Computer Science Society. (Photo submitted by Zaneer Mitha)

Kristen is a Cuban American senior at American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla. She is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Patriot Post, President of Student Government and co-founder of the non-profit Friends for Fosters. Kristen loves keeping up with politics, watching Netflix, reading and sleeping in. She considers herself a nerd due to her massive video game and comic collection.