Gulliver Prep senior Sebastian Quintero is the Prep’s Silver Knight nominee in the Digital and Interactive Media category.
Quintero and his two friends are the driving force behind Career-Ready Coding, an educational platform that includes free online courses for coding languages and videos on programming.
Gulliver freshman are required to take 10 hours of programming from Career-Ready Coding using the lesson plans the founders developed.
“We created a free website – crcoding.org,” he says. “Currently, we have over 3000 users on our website, all from different parts of the world.”
The series of lesson plans and the videos on programing were developed by the team. The boys also teach students at Breakthrough Miami as well as CARE Elementary and the Migrant Education Program in Homestead.
The program won critical acclaim in the 2018 Congressional App Challenge for Florida District 27, represented in D.C. by Rep. Donna Shalala. They traveled to Washington to present their platform, where they spent five days taking tours and showcasing their programs to congressmen and corporate representatives.
At the end of 2018 they went to Harvard and Yale for the annual CS50 Fair.
“We were one of the only high schools to present alongside their students and get feedback from their professors,” he says.
Quintero was introduced to the computer in elementary school by playing basic video games. His love of computers grew when he started taking engineering courses at Gulliver and continued when he moved to the Prep and enrolled in computer science curriculum.
This year, he’s vice president of the Computer Science Honor Society (Zeta Omicron), overseeing all community service.
“Every Friday for the past few months we go to Homestead and work with the Migrant Program,” he says. “Kids whose parents do not have the opportunities to send them to afterschool STEM programs. We open them up to programing and engineering subjects.
We also go to CARE Elementary in Overtown and teach there. We try to inspire them to go into that subject matter.”
There are differences in the two programs. At the Homestead site, they have computers to work with and the teachers are also working with the students to help them move forward.
The students at Homestead tend to be in fifth to eighth grade.
“At CARE, the computers are limited. We try to bring the laptops,” Quintero says. “They do more group learning on the SMART Board.”
The students are also slightly younger, fourth through sixth graders.
Last year the co-founders were working 10 hours a week out of school, where they worked on the platform, developed lesson plans, and led after-school classes. During the summer between sophomore and junior year, they worked on the website for three weeks, where they successfully launched it by the end of June. As seniors, they have cut back on that torrid pace.
“We are trying to pass down more the underclass,” he says. “I still teach the coding fundamentals class twice a week, and each class is about 1 hour.”
Quintero is a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, the National Spanish Honor Society, the Rho Kappa Honors Society, and the Cum Laude Honor Society.
He competes for the varsity tennis team, which was a state champion last year. Quintero played in numerous USTA tournaments during his sophomore and junior year, but this year he concentrated on college applications instead.
He’s been accepted at MIT, Cal Tech and Georgetown and is waiting to hear from Berkeley and Stanford. He plans to major in computer science and economics.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld