A seven-week summer course for girls on computer coding convinced Cluster student Kyla that she should major in computer science in college after she graduates from high school in June.
Kyla, a senior at Morton West High School in Berwyn, has been coming to Cluster Tutoring since kindergarten. “I’ve been here a long time,” she said, along with some cousins and her little brother, 3rd-grader Blake.
Her computer coding course through the nonprofit group Girls Who Code showed her a new direction. “I came back very excited,” she said. “I learned a lot.” The biggest take-home tip, she said, was “when in doubt, copy and paste. That’s the best advice I ever got.”
Kyla is a big fan of anime, and she’d like to turn her college computer training into a career in animation. “I’d love to see my name up there in the credits.” Her favorite anime film is Castles in the Sky.
Kyla’s tutor, Phyllis Bowen, can attest to Kyla’s artistic ability. “She’s a fabulous artist,” said Phyllis, who has tutored Kyla since the girl was in 8th grade. Kyla is a member of her school’s Art Club.
Phyllis said she has thoroughly enjoyed tutoring Kyla. “She’s a very positive person, very humorous,” Phyllis said.
“When we started, she was a little nervous about taking tests. They were stressful,” she added. “She’s worked through that.”
Phyllis, a retired professor from the University of Illinois at Chicago, was especially helpful to Kyla with her chemistry homework, but the pair also worked hard at raising Kyla’s SAT score. “I got 30 points higher the second time around,” Kyla said.
Kyla has appreciated her years at Cluster. “I use this as my focus time,” she said, while at home she sometimes watches her brother or does chores. She has a heavy school load this year of AP courses in psychology, English, and microeconomics. “I’ve learned: Don’t accept anything below a C.”
Although Kyla was accepted at all five schools where she applied, she plans to follow a family tradition and attend Northern Illinois University — both her parents are alumni. She will live on campus in DeKalb. Her focus now is applying for scholarships.