Meet The Future Of Technology — They’re 15 And They Already Know How To Code

Is the next Bill Gates in your local high school?

By Maya Kachroo-Levine

In the last few years, the gig economy has transformed the way we work. The freelance life has taken off, and it’s estimated that 35% of the workforce now participates in independent contract work.

Washington Leadership Academy — a public charter school located in Washington, D.C. — is adapting to this evolving workforce in a creative way. They’re integrating independent contractors, offering part-time teaching positions so that their high school students can be exposed to fields most students don’t hear about until halfway through their college careers. This allows students to glimpse different fields while gaining real insight into how professionals are successfully navigating an entirely new work culture.

“Students take photography with a digital photography expert, DJing and music production from actual DJs and producers, and software engineering with an actual engineer,” says the school’s co-founder and executive director, Stacy Kane.

Afternoon electives are when this all happens, which means the mornings tend toward a more typical high school curriculum. The electives are fairly tech-focused, and the intent is that graduates will be experts in computer science and programming, among other technology-related specialties.

[quote position="full" is_quote="false"]Each year, approximately 100 students will graduate — largely from minority backgrounds — and Kane says she wants the possibilities for each student to be endless.[/quote]

That shouldn’t be too much of a stretch, seeing as many students are starting their own tech-savvy side hustles while still in high school. “Our students are gearing up to be major players in the gig economy—10% of them already have side jobs building websites or consulting regarding technology,” says Kane. “One student has already launched his own tech company called Tau VR. We anticipate that all of our students will be able to make good money before, during, and after college, doing things they love.”

Tech isn’t restricted to the afternoon electives; It finds its way into every aspect of school, from lesson plans to homework to afterschool activities. In fact, Kane says every teacher uses technology in every classroom, whether that means assigning YouTube explorations in a science class or recording explanations of mathematical concepts.

“All teachers use tech to leverage themselves for the kids. As a result, academics are much more personalized for all students. Instead of teaching the same thing to every student, we can teach exactly what students need to know when they need to know it,” says Kane.

They are even looking to expand virtual reality throughout the curriculum beyond elective courses. VR would fit comfortably with the rest of the curriculum, in addition to the electives like 3D printing, custom screen-printing, video editing and production, and virtual reality production that they already offer.

[quote position="full" is_quote="false"]With such high-level subjects, it’s easy to imagine students falling behind or losing interest. But in reality, the opposite is true.[/quote]

The students are ready to put the skills they’re learning to use outside the classroom.

Sophomore Naia McNatt is taking computer science this year and has decided she wants to start a tech company and be “the next Bill Gates.” Three of her 10th-grade computer science classmates are also making big plans already; Zyquan Thomas now wants to be a web developer, Rushea Davis wants to own her own business, and Maria Flora Zamudio wants to teach computer science.

“I'm interested in the technology part of physical therapy,” says sophomore Kevin Baker. “I was interested in physical therapy before but I was more interested in the personal training side of it. Now I know you can use technology to do a lot of different testing on the body to make physical therapy more effective. Having a mandatory computer science class has helped me learn about it.”

“I didn't know about technology before I came here,” he continues, “but now I feel like I know more than the average person.”

Washington Leadership Academy is trying to bring their students up to expert-level, such that they can apply the skills they’re learning to jobs in the immediate future. These aren’t just the students who are going to major in computer science at Stanford; they’re the ones who are going to start companies before college — and run them out of their dorm rooms.

All images provided by XQ.

via Collection of the New-York Historical Society / Wikimedia Commons

Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. At the age of 10 he was given to the Auld family.

As a child, he worked as a house slave and was able to learn to read and write, and he attempted to teach his fellow slaves the same skills.

At the age of 15, he was given to Thomas Auld, a cruel man who beat and starved his slaves and thwarted any opportunity for them to practice their faith or to learn to read or write.

Keep Reading Show less
via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

RELATED: 'High Castle' producers destroyed every swastika used on the show and the video is oh-so satisfying

In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

Keep Reading Show less
via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?


Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet