By JENNIFER OSBORN
Helix Charter High School has earned the College Board AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in AP Computer Science Principles. Schools honored with the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded young women’s access to AP Computer Science courses.
Out of the 20,000 institutions that offer AP courses, 818 achieved this important result during the 2018-19 school year — nearly 20% more than the 685 schools recognized last year. In 2019, Helix was one of 639 recognized in the category of AP Computer Science Principles.
Schools receiving the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have achieved either 50% or higher female representation in either or both of the AP Computer Science courses, or the percentage of female computer science examinees meets or exceeds that of the school’s female population.
Providing female students with access to computer science courses is necessary to ensuring gender parity in high-paying technology jobs and to drive innovation, creativity, and competition. A 2014 Google study found that women are more likely to pursue computer science if they are given the opportunity to explore it in high school.
City Council recognizes Helix students
Alex Chau and Marvin Locke were recognized at the La Mesa City Council meeting held on Feb. 11, for their participation in a project of San Diego County’s Resident Leadership Academy Internship program at Helix.
There were 15 student interns during the spring of 2019 who were involved in activities that would make their communities healthy, safe, and thriving places to live, work, learn, and play. Chau and Locke conducted a walk audit and found that there were no public trash receptacles along University Avenue. They worked with the community group Envision La Mesa to advocate the city of La Mesa for trash receptacles to be installed. Thanks to their community advocacy, the city purchased and installed trash receptacles along University Avenue and El Cajon Boulevard in December 2019.
Academic competition successes
Helix’s Academic League team closed out a successful season with a victory over El Capitan High School. Academic League is a scholarly competition that requires a team of students to answer questions from a wide variety of academic areas, including math, literature, science, history, and more.
The team finished the season with a record of 7-4, tying with Grossmont, Grossmont Middle College, and Steele Canyon. Their victories included winning the inaugural award given to the winner of the match between Helix and Grossmont, sponsored by the La Mesa City Council. “We had a strong varsity team, with several seniors new to Academic League,” said co-coach Jennifer Underwood. “It is such a joy to watch our players improve and develop self-confidence in the game.”
Underwood noted the growth of players Zain Shields, Lucas Osborn, and Delaney Leavitt, recognizing them as team standouts. The San Diego County Department of Education broadcasts matches on ITV Cable 16. Catch Helix’s team in action against Grossmont Middle College on April 2 at 8 p.m.
The Helix Sports Medicine students competed against 12 other schools in a Sports Medicine Quiz Bowl and advanced to the semi-final round.
The Helix Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) team competed at the San Diego State University competition on Feb. 22. All Helix teams placed in their divisions. The first-place teams will continue to regionals in April at the University of California Riverside. Congratulations to the following first-place winners: Miguel Talamantez, Alex Chau, Mahmoud Salem, and Nick Smith (National Engineering Design Competition); Nicholas Lam (Civil Structures); and Bernard Bausa, Janae Farinas, and Jeannette Nguyen (MESA Machine).
Winter sports wrap up
Helix’s winter sports teams enjoyed many successes this season. Boys basketball, wrestling, boys soccer, and girls water polo all captured league championships. Also of note was the girls JV soccer team going undefeated with a record of 20-0-1.
CIF Playoffs are in progress as of this writing.
Seven wrestlers have advanced to the SDS Masters Wrestling Tournament in El Centro.
Boys soccer will play in the semifinals.
Girls soccer qualified and lost in the first round.
Girls water polo advanced to the semi-final game.
Girls and boys basketball advanced to the quarter-finals.
Helix English teacher Eric Ginsberg received the Classroom Excellence Award at the February conference for the California Association of Teachers of English (CATE). Ginsberg’s peers nominated him for the award, noting his accomplishments in demonstrating classroom excellence on an ongoing basis.
If you are interested in finding out more about Helix Charter High School, please attend one of our Excellence in Education Tours, held monthly. The March tour will take place on March 6 at 8:10 a.m. Reserve your spot using our website, helixcharter.net.
Note: Helix will be closed March 16-27 for spring break.
— Jennifer Osborn writes on behalf of Helix Charter High School.