History Makers: CodeVA

CodeVA is a non-profit built to promote computer science and computer programming across Virginia.

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Young minds are at work at CodeVA on East Broad Street.  There is a camp in session, and Dinwiddie sixth grader Ryan Hite is loving every minute of it.

“It’s a lot of technology,” Hite explains, taking a break from his robot programming.  “I’m kinda into that stuff.”

Ryan Hite (right) says robots and 3D printers interest him.
Ryan Hite (right) says robots and 3D printers interest him.

Camps like this one are just a part of the CodeVA mission.  It is also a computer science advocacy and teacher training program.

“CodeVA is a lot of things,” explains Executive Director Chris Dovi.

Chris and his wife Rebecca Dovi launched CodeVA officially in 2013 after a few years of planning.  At that time, Rebecca had been a computer science educator for about two decades, while Chris was an investigative reporter who uncovered just how little local students knew about coding.  They both realized a huge percentage of children and teens did not even understand the basics, but there was such a desire to know more.

“It is definitely nice to sort of see those aha moments and see them making connections in other subjects they may be learning at school or experiences they had outside of school,” says Rebecca.  “Really kind of start to see where computer science fits into their daily lives.”

Adds Chris, “This is a foundational knowledge, like English, Math or Science.  It is foundational to other things you do and need to know.”

Through a curriculum that combines art with computer science, CodeVA prepares students for their future careers, no matter what path they choose.

Hite does not know exactly what he wants to be when he grows up, but he is definitely having an aha moment at camp.  During this session, he learned to program a robot to follow a course.

“You use arrow keys, sound boards and stuff.   It’s pretty cool,” he says about the project.  “I did good.  I made it to the bridge.”

CodeVA initially launched in 2013 by participating in Hour of Code, a global movement aiming to give every student the opportunity to learn computer science.
CodeVA initially launched in 2013 by participating in Hour of Code, a global movement aiming to give every student the opportunity to learn computer science.

CodeVA has not been around for very long, but The Valentine is recognizing it as a History Maker for focusing on the success of future generations.

“Maybe we are a History Maker if three years doth a history make these days,” Chris says with a smile.

Other winners of the 2016 History Makers Awards include Dream Academy, Richmond Region Tourism, Richmond Public Libraries and Dr. Edward H. Peeples.

They will receive their awards on October 18.  8News is a proud sponsor of the celebration.  Follow this link to purchase tickets and to learn more information.