Coding is Second Nature for Noelle Healey-Stewart


Paula Le, Reporter

Coding is a space where creativity and originality can run through. Coding has endless solutions and outcomes. Coding is the future, and Noelle Healey-Stewart plans to partake in the evolution.

“My interest in coding was because of its puzzle-solving nature.” Noelle essentially got into coding when her friend, Mel Jurado, introduced her to the “Girls Who Code Club” in her Sophomore year of high school. Mr. Christian, who established the club, had Noelle and other participants do block-based coding and do Python later on in the year. During Junior year, Noelle took AP Computer Science Principals class. She recounted that the class went over how data works with computers and more block-based coding, but the language was Java script.

In this program that Noelle created, you had to choose the color that was slightly off.

Noelle’s love for programming took a step forward. Taking on a leadership position, she helped run “Girls Who Code Club” alongside Mel Jurado, Alex Thwaits, and Jake Wood. In her Senior year, she took AP Computer Science A (CSA) class, the highest level coding class at Sahuaro High School. “There are only four people in it currently and as if that isn’t enough to dedicate a class period, we meet online in the morning during Mr. Christian’s planning period.” Fortunately, Noelle stated that there will be more students joining AP CSA next year from AP CSP. She expressed CSA was much more challenging and is all text-based Java. Using the graphical interface for Java and creating games is more difficult than Noelle anticipated. Even though the class required a lot more skill, “I feel it gives more freedom to create programs to do what you want rather than Java script does in”

The question is will Noelle further pursue her passion for coding? The answer is…Yes. Her plan after Senior year is to go to a community college for Computer Science/Computer applications, for she declared her love for coding and physical maintenance/hardware building of computer designs—despite the pain Noelle gets when trying to build computers. “There are also internships that I wanted to look at to give me experience in the code side of a company. Google or any large tech company is where I set my sights to.”

It is no surprise that STEM is a male dominant field; however, that does not bother Noelle one bit. Noelle proclaimed she is simply pursuing her career path because of her interest, not because she’s a female pursuing a male-dominated field. “I have been told that because I am a woman, an African American one at that, that I’ll have a higher chance of getting a job in that field, and personally, that makes it seem worse because all it makes it seem is that I am a diversity hire and I don’t actually have skills to be employed in a job.” She explained she had been in a JTED class for Information Technology where all the other students were male, and they did not see her any different because everyone had the same passion.

A game where you had to click an object and then count up the score of time you clicked it. If you misclicked, it would take a life and points away.

Being in school for the past 12 years has had Noelle learn a valuable lesson—having fun > grades. She recapped that she had many bad moments over getting a B, thinking she wasn’t good enough when in reality, it’s an achievement that anyone should be proud of. Noelle believes one must take breaks and simply live. “Personally I feel it affected me mentally and I never took enough breaks and never stopped pushing myself. Life is supposed to be fun and not difficult. You shouldn’t live it for anyone else for something small like your grades unless that’s something you are really willing to sacrifice that time for.”

Noelle declared she will definitely miss the amazing teachers she had the pleasure to have. Furthermore, she’ll miss having a place to hang with her friends, for Noelle didn’t get much time due to the fact she had online school for the majority of her Senior year.

As her days of high school will conclude soon, Noelle is welcoming new beginnings of the future. “What I look forward to in the future is getting to work on a career in coding, even though that’s a bit in the future. I’m also looking forward to not having to worry about my GPA.” She is anticipating the idea of spending more time with others now that school won’t be a barrier for her.

Whatever your decisions and career path you choose in the end, The Paper Cut is rooting for you, Noelle!

“Whether you want to uncover the secrets of the universe, or you just want to pursue a career in the 21st century, basic computer programming is an essential skill to learn.” -Stephen Hawking