Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson visits MHS

Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Governor Asa Hutchinson and assistant Morgan Aldridge get a computer coding lesson instructed by MHS student Ryan Cole.

Manila High School staff and students welcomed Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday, Aug. 23. MHS was on the Governor's computer coding tour of 10 schools across the state.

Superintendent Pam Castor and high school principal Mark Manchester welcomed Gov. Hutchinson and his staff as they toured the computer labs, visited with students, and took a lesson in computer coding.

Gov. Hutchinson and his assistant Morgan Aldridge took a short computer lesson during their visit in Gerri McCann's classroom. They were assisted by student Ryan Cole.

Pictured from left are: MHS coding teacher Gerri McCann; Governor Asa Hutchinson, MHS Business teacher Tonia Eubanks, Senator David Burnett, and Manila High School Principal Mark Manchester. The MHS team presented Gov. Hutchinson with a MPSKidsCode With Grit tee-shirt.

Gov. Hutchinson shared meeting McCann over a year ago and their discussion on computer coding.

"She said I am a French teacher but if I can learn French, I should be able to learn computer coding, it is like learning another language," Gov. Hutchinson said. "She received her certification and now teaches computer coding."

Gov. Hutchinson's goal through the computer coding initiative is to make it available in all Arkansas schools.

All Manila High School students received an hour of coding instructions, led by students in the coding classes, throughout the day.

MHS's new class Apps for Good was started this year through a grant. It is taught by Tonia Eubanks, business teacher.

Gov. Hutchinson was presented a "MPSKidsCode with Grit tee-shirt.

Following the tour of the computer labs and a demonstration by the robotics students, an assembly was held. Student Christian Booker received the honor of introducing Governor Hutchinson to the student body.

Gov. Hutchinson expressed his congratulations to Manila School District for their leadership in computer science. The governor went on to say Arkansas is a leader in computer coding.

He spoke of career opportunities available through computer coding.

"We are leading the nation in computer science," Governor Hutchinson said. "It is because of you. We passed a law to offer computer coding in every school in Arkansas. As a result we have 4,000 students in Arkansas taking the course."

He said his goal is to see more students taking the course. Computer coding is a math/science credit toward graduation.

"We are offering it, the choice is yours," he said. "You can run the world from Manila if you know the code."

Coding development is used in agriculture, medical field, legal, manufacturing, and all other fields.

Governor Hutcinson recognized Rep. Dave Wallace and Senator David Burnett, also present, for their support in the computer coding initiative.

An informative video on computer coding was shown before Governor Hutchinson took questions from the students. Questions included what can be done to encourage other states to teach computer coding, will there be events for girls who want to get into coding, what colleges have coding, and the establishment of concurrent college credit for coding.

Manila High School is now offering four computer science courses.

McCann sais she is happy for the Manila students to have the opportunity. She went on to talk about Manila graduates who have gone on to college with plans to major in computer sciences.

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