Water Valley’s innovative Base Camp Coding Academy will graduate its inaugural class at 2 p.m., Saturday, May 6, at the Big Truck Theater in Taylor, Mississippi.
A celebration for the first graduating class will also take place at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, May 4, on the lawn of Plein Air in Taylor, Mississippi. The event will feature a cocktail reception and four-course dinner prepared by Chef Nick Reppond and Angie Sicurezza of Grit. A private concert at Big Truck Theatre featuring former Dire Straits guitarist Jack Sonni & Friends will follow.
Base Camp was established by Oxford’s Glen Evans and Water Valley’s Kagan Coughlin to provide under-advantaged youth with fast-paced, focused vocational training in computer programming to support the technology needs of local and regional employers. Every student accepted into the program receives a 100 percent scholarship.
“The most important metric for Base Camp’s success has been the employability of our graduates,” Coughlin said. “We are excited to share that every student has accepted an employment opportunity following graduation, and over 70 percent received more than one offer.”
Coughlin said the success of the program is a testament to the teachers, mentors and large community of volunteers who have contributed to the Base Camp education, the core coding skills as well as “those difficult-to-quantify skills that make a well-rounded professional.”
“This is also a testament to the companies that have seen the potential in this new training model and have adapted their hiring practices to support a young person entering the workforce for the first time,” Coughlin said.
Base Camp’s curriculum includes classroom instruction, thesis projects, field trips and visiting speakers. Classes begin June 1 for students immediately following high school graduation, and follow a full-time work schedule of 40 hours each week for 12 months.
As the program celebrates its inaugural year success, executive director and co-founder Kagan Coughlin said Base Camp is busy recruiting its 2018 class of students.
Off to a strong start, Coughlin said teachers, clergy and after-school employers have been nominating graduating seniors who have high aptitude and potential with limited opportunities following graduation.
To order tickets to Base Camp’s inaugural class celebration May 4, visit www.basecampcodingacademy.org/fundraiser. For more information about Base Camp, visit www.basecampcodingacademy.org.
Base Camp is made possible with the generous support of their founding partner, North Mississippi Community College, and their founding sponsors, Diane and Dickey Scruggs, The C Spire Foundation, Paige and Glen Evans, Ambassador John Palmer, Core Logic, Renasant Bank, Jan and Lawrence Farrington and FedEx. Community sponsors include Trustmark National Bank, BrainShark, AOL and the Make It Happen Foundation.
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