Known for its immersive computer-science programs that equip students to become tomorrow’s innovators of technology, iCode’s tremendous impact on young people extends beyond its engaging classrooms. By Brianna Bohn
Known for its immersive computer-science programs that equip students to become tomorrow’s innovators of technology, iCode’s tremendous impact on young people extends beyond its engaging classrooms. With over 50 locations and quickly expanding, the brand is heavily involved in the communities it serves and has multiple initiatives to promote education and success.
One of those opportunities comes in the form of a scholarship. “We work with public, private and charter schools to offer families the opportunity to enroll their children into the scholarship program,” explained Mike Meyers, chief operating officer of iCode. “We award a free belt program, which is nine months in duration and would regularly cost a family $2,500. It’s a great value from an educational standpoint and a monetary standpoint.”
After school principals brief parents about the scholarship program, the iCode team evaluates potential scholarship candidates with a rubric. The rubric, which promotes hard work, innovation, and dedication, has a set of criteria that requires students to have a 90% grade average, perfect attendance, and involvement in an extracurricular activity. In addition, students write a 250-word essay explaining why they feel computer science is important to the future and how they will benefit from being awarded the scholarship.
“Once winners are selected, we have a big celebration. I call it the iCode Emmy awards. We might have over a hundred families in attendance, and we have cake, banners, balloons – everything. It is a special night, and we are able to recognize these students’ efforts,” Meyers said. Three scholarships are awarded to each school, and families who do not become recipients of the scholarship are still given a reward with a discount for the program.
The brand also hosts an annual hackathon in Dallas-Fort Worth to engage children in project-based learning STEAM challenges and raise money for iCode-4-Kids, a nonprofit organization that provides children with opportunities to pursue education in computer science. The event has been a great success with over 400 families in attendance, sponsors from well-known companies like PepsiCo, and judges to assess team performances. With all proceeds donated back to the education system, Meyers has one goal: to make a more significant contribution toward the education of children nationwide.
“Now that we’re expanding and have a bigger footprint, we hope to make it a national event,” he said.