Student Stories

San Francisco Bay Area

Your support helps us provide life-changing experiences to these amazing students, and many more like them! These are some of their stories.

Keonte

Keonte: Computers & Technology
San Francisco, CA

7th grader Keonte completed an apprenticeship at bCode with technology guru Joe Synnott to explore his interest in computer hardware.  Every week, Keonte visited Joe’s office in the Financial District of San Francisco where the pair began each session with 10 minutes of Xbox, which, according to Joe, “helps us catch up and warm up.”  But the apprenticeship went far beyond games; Keonte’s Discovery Night project was a self-built computer, constructed from spare parts gathered from around Joe’s office.  Keonte not only gained valuable computer skills from this project, but also learned communication and professional skills while building and presenting it.  These new strengths helped Keonte come out of his shell, and he became more confident in his own potential to become a technology guru in his own right some day.


Orlando

Orlando: Aviation & Aerospace Engineering
Redwood City, CA

Orlando has been interested in aviation, aerospace, and outer space since he was very young. However, he had only enjoyed the field from afar because of a severe fear of flying. As a result, Orlando did not believe that a career in this field would be possible for him. Fortunately, Orlando was matched with Brittany, a kind and experienced pilot, who taught him the basics of aviation and airplane enigineering. After only two apprenticeship sessions, Orlando said he was ready to go up in the plane. After this first flight, Orlando could not wait to get up in the air again and guide the plane himself! Through his experience, Orlando not only conquered his fear of flying, but he also gained self-confidence in his ability to do anything he sets his mind to!


Jamal

Jamal: Computers & Technology
San Francisco, CA

Although 8th grader Jamal is extremely bright, he has struggled with school engagement and attendance, and his apprenticeship with Luke, a computer science graduate student at UC Berkeley, started off rocky. However, after the first session, the two became fast friends, and Jamal’s attendance and enthusiasm for both his apprenticeship and school improved dramatically. During their apprenticeship, Jamal learned the ins and outs of designing and maintaining a website, and even took a field trip to the mecca of computer technology: Google! His final project combined his interest in website design and his passion for skateboarding with an instructional website that demonstrates skateboarding tricks. Through his apprenticeship, Jamal has not only realized the importance of his education, but he also gained a close friend and mentor in Luke.


Sergio

Sergio: Law, Government, & Safety
Redwood City, CA

7th grader Sergio is a bright student, but because he did not see the relevance of his education to his future, he often acted out in school. When asked his dream job, Sergio expressed interest in both being on a SWAT team and working with a dog trainer, so he was matched with a police officer who handles the force's canines. Sergio immediately built a bond with his mentor Officer Dan, who demonstrated the importance of school rules and state laws for public safety. Through the course of his apprenticeship, Sergio developed a high respect for authority figures and his education, and now has a clear path for his future.


Lanie

Lanie: Fashion & Jewelry Design
San Francisco, CA

8th grader Lanie blossomed through her apprenticeship in jewelry design. She worked with professional designer Nico to learn about sourcing materials, conducting buyer meetings with potential vendors, and creating a unique aesthetic and a coherent look for a product line. Lanie learned so much from her mentor Nico, and in the end Nico also learned from Lanie! During one session, Lanie taught Nico a braiding technique she has learned growing up in the Phillipines. For their final project, Lanie and Nico created a spring collection of handmade pieces that they braided, beaded, and wove together. At Discovery Night, Lanie captivated the room with an eloquent reflection on all she had learned over the course of the semester and on her hopes for continued growth in her next semester of school. 


Spark inspires 7th, 8th and 9th grade students to succeed in high school and beyond by connecting them with mentors in leading workplaces and supporting their academic journey with skill-building and resources. By engaging working professionals and connecting businesses with local communities, Spark empowers the next generation to perform better in school, graduate on time and lead fulfilling careers and lives.

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