Apache Junction students can seek career in video-game coding

Zackary Raymond, 18, a senior at Apache Junction High School, and Amanda Kimball, 18, a senior at McClintock High School, prepare to complete coursework on a laptop computer at an East Valley Institute of Technology class in computer programming, coding and mobile app design. (Photo by Richard H. Dyer, Independent Newsmedia)

Elizabeth Barber, a technology and coding instructor for East Valley Institute of Technology, on Nov. 29, had students put notes on the board to answer the question “What do you know about the Internet?” (Photo by Richard H. Dyer, Independent Newsmedia)


East Valley Institute of Technology courses from construction to welding, culinary arts

A senior at Apache Junction High School hopes an East Valley Institute of Technology class he is taking will start him in a career of programming or coding for video games.

“I’m really interested in designing video games when I grow up and so I thought this would be an easier thing to learn and progress through. I’m working on HTML right now, which is like a website or animation within that,” Zackary Raymond, 18, said of the information technology and engineering careers class in computer programming, coding and mobile app design. “I kind of like the design of it, like the aspect of making a character move with certain designs or something like that is cool.”

He plans to go to Central Arizona College after graduation from AJHS.

EVIT is tuition-free for high school students and offers about 40 career and technical education programs tuition-free for high school students who reside in 10 east Valley districts – Apache Junction, Queen Creek, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Higley, Fountain Hills and J.O. Combs. Students spend a half-day at EVIT and a half-day at their high school. School districts provide transportation to EVIT for most students. For more information about EVIT, visit www.evit.com.

Mr. Raymond takes a bus from AJHS, 2525 S. Ironwood Drive, to the EVIT main campus, 1601 W. Main St. in Mesa, and back after class.
He is in the first-year class. Other students are in the second-year class.

“They’re sometimes working on the same thing as well,” he said.

“The second-years can definitely assist the first-years with prior knowledge,” his teacher, Elizabeth Barber, an EVIT iTEC technology and coding instructor, said. She has a master of arts in organizational learning and instructional technology and has worked at EVIT since July.

“I’m a full believer in the ‘best way to learn is to teach,’ so having students – the ones who are a little bit higher level – to assist with other students that might be a lower level or new students who are coming up. It’s also differentiated learning so I have students who started later on in the semester,” she said.

A course description at evit.com says the computer programming, coding and mobile app design class prepares students interested in pursuing a career in computer programming, coding or mobile application design. Students are challenged to develop computer programs in multiple formats for use in the robotics industry, computer information systems and mobile application design. They will also learn the skills necessary to communicate clearly, cooperate within teams, solve logistical problems and present findings. The program also introduces students to embedded technology concepts through a combination of classroom lecture and project-based learning. Students will also learn to design computer and mobile application programs using multiple platforms of the C++ language, including, EasyC, RobotC, ObjectiveC, X-Code, Swift and Java Script, according to the website.

“My goal is to level them up like a video game. So, start them out with basics, foundation. Also giving them the understanding of information technology, so they have a good foundation on that. Then also getting them into different forms of technology – programming. Some students are interested in more of the software-development side, not necessarily game design. I have a lot of students who are interested in that. So depending on their learning wants and needs, is going to dictate their learning path,” Ms. Barber said.

Students will be taught about Python coding for the “Minecraft” video game, she said.

Those who complete the second year of coursework can be certified.

“For the second-years, they should be certified … hopefully Java Script or Oracle,” Ms. Barber said. “There’s other classes. Some kids want to go into the hardware side of it, so that’s across the hall, which is a Cicsco kind of thing. We also have 3D art and graphic design so some kids might want to go into that component as well. I have kids who are doing 3D art with some of the other teachers that are interested in coming over here to learn first-reality, augmented-reality.”

Any student interested in programs at EVIT may submit an application for consideration, according to the EVIT registration guide at http://www.evit.com/sendingschools. EVIT’s Counseling & Admissions Department is at the Dr. A. Keith Crandell (Main) Campus, 1601 W. Main St. in Mesa. Office hours are 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday during the school year with summer hours 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday. It is recommended that students and parents requiring specialized advisement call ahead at 480-461-4000, according to the guide.

EVIT classes are also held at other locations convenient for Apache Junction High School students:

  • EVIT East, 6625 S. Power Road in east Mesa, opened in August 2011. The 10-acre campus is adjacent to ASU Polytechnic and houses EVIT’s aviation and future engineers programs, the east campus academy for cosmetic arts and several school of health sciences programs, including the veterinary assistant program. Entrance to the East Campus is at Power Road and Verona, according to http://www.evit.com/about/campuses.
  • Apache Junction Branch Campus at Apache Junction High School with EVIT programs in human anatomy and physiology for medical careers, medical assistant, construction, culinary arts, welding and introduction to iTEC.

On Nov. 29 Mr. Raymond and Amanda Kimball, 18, a senior from McClintock High School in Tempe, were paired up to complete an assignment on his laptop computer. More than 35 other students in the class also worked in pairs on the assignment.

Ms. Kimball attended the Early Career Academy tech school until it shut down, she said.

“With that knowledge I was able to go into second-year here,” she said. “I really want to get into database design. That’s what I want to do. But I also want to go into app development, so I’m here for the app development.”

She recalls being interested in computer science since she was much younger.

“It’s always been my passion since I was 10 years old. When I got my first computer was what got me into computers,” she said.

“Skyrim,” an open world action role-playing video game, is one of the games that inspired her to go into app development.

“I would go into the database or the fundamental codes of the game and would change them around to see what would happen,” she said.

When she graduates from high school she would like to attend University of Advancing Technology.

Mr. Raymond enjoys playing “Overwatch,” a team-based multiplayer online game.

“It’s a cooperative game. You have to work together as a team to do an objective or something like that – defeat the other team, capture a point or something like that,” he said.

Students in the class have a common bond, he said.

“I like how everybody is kind of in the same boat, everyone’s like the same person – they all like to do video games, they’re all designing and the coding is the same thing. It’s kind of simple but you’ve got to learn through it,” Mr. Raymond said.

From left are EVIT students Noah Carlow, 18, and Hayden Stangler, 18, seniors from Mesquite High School, at an East Valley Institute of Technology class in computer programming, coding and mobile app design. (Photo by Richard H. Dyer, Independent Newsmedia)

Noah Carlow, 18, a senior from Mesquite High School, wants to become a software engineer, he said at the EVIT class.

“This kind of like helps you get the first steps into doing that,” he said of the coding class.

He took EVIT’s iTEC class last year.

“They taught you about computer repair and networking, so it wasn’t focused on programming; now it is,” Mr. Carlow said.

Hayden Stangler, 18, a senior from Mesquite High School, said he is taking the coding class “to start my foundation for my career being a software engineer or a programmer.”

He took the iTEC class last year and is working toward a certificate, he said.

“That’s my main focus right now; I want to get certified so that I have a piece of paper that says I know this stuff, because that’s what jobs look for,” Mr. Stangler said.


Post your opinions at apachejunctionindependent.com. Managing Editor Richard Dyer can be contacted at 480-982-7799, via e-mail at rdyer@newszap.com or on Twitter at RHDyer.




•77 Apache Junction Unified School District students attend the EVIT main and east campus.
•Apache Junction High School’s EVIT campus has six content areas – graphic design, culinary, welding, construction, medical assist, and anatomy and physiology, totaling 444 students, Also, 11 J.O. Combs students are enrolled in the welding program.
•Three AJUSD students take EVIT classes at both AJHS and the other two campuses.
•29 AJHS students attend the Main EVIT campus.
•48 AJHS students attend the East Campus
•10 students take classes at AJHS that do not attend there. Two are from American Leadership Ironwood and eight are from Combs High School.

Source: AJUSD

EVIT funding

As a joint technological education district, EVIT receives funding through local, state, county and federal monies. The funding formula is similar to that used by traditional school districts. Funding is based on student enrollment and the costs are shared between the state and local funds. A JTED may levy a rate of 5 cents per $100 of secondary net assessed property valuation to generate the local contribution. Any amount needed to fund the required formula above the amount generated through the local tax is funded through state funds, according to the EVIT website, www.evit.com. EVIT has a 0.0500 secondary property tax rate in Maricopa County, according to https://www.maricopa.gov, and a 0.0500 secondary property tax rate in Pinal County, according to http://www.pinalcountyaz.gov.

Want to enroll in EVIT?

You have several options:
•Online at www.evit.com/admissions.
•At your Apache Junction High School counselor’s office.
•By visiting the high school or adult education admissions offices at the EVIT Main Campus, 1601 W. Main St., Mesa.

Need more information?

Website: www.evit.com/requestinfo.

Editor Richard Dyer can be reached at rdyer@newszap.com

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