Chelsea Smith is still only a preteen, but she has big goals, one of which is to encourage her peers to unlock their power through KidsCode242, the organization which she founded to encourage children to learn to code. What started as a pandemic hobby is growing into something much more special.
“Our tutorials are fun and engaging, using games like Minecraft and Roblox to help kids learn real computer coding languages,” said Chelsea.
KidsCode242 came about during the pandemic, after she decided to start coding, with the help of her older brother Akeil Smith. Accustomed to a busy schedule after all events were canceled in country, due to the coronavirus, coding and KidsCode242 she said was a way for her to stay productive and socialize with her peers.
She had her first KidsCode242 virtual session with family and friends in the summer of 2020. Once school started online in September of that year, they continued with Saturday meet-ups during the academic year.
“KidsCode242 is important to me because it’s another way for me to help others by introducing them to coding and the importance of it. I recognize that not all kids have the same exposure and it gives me great joy to see other kids excited about the new knowledge they have gained. KidsCode242 is my way to spread the gospel of coding throughout The Bahamas.
“All industries will be impacted by computer programming. Even if kids don’t become programmers, being familiar with the basics will still be important. Not knowing how to code will be similar to not knowing how to type or read. Technology is the future and we can’t have technology without code.”
Chelsea’s dream is to see KidsCode242 become a major program in The Bahamas, supported by volunteers and business sponsors.
“I would like to change the way we see things like coding/technology, helping our country change for the better. I would like to continue to share my knowledge of coding and explain how kids can both learn and have fun playing games like Roblox and Minecraft.”
The pre-teen with big dreams is also the 25th Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year (BPSSY). She earned a $7,000 scholarship.
The board of directors of the Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Foundation (BPSSYF) and the Nassau, Bahamas Pan-Hellenic Council, in conjunction with the judges said that in selecting Chelsea, a student at Windsor School at Albany, for the top honor, they selected someone who was deserving of the honor as she is a focused, well-rounded, goal-driven, reliable and responsible student.
Chelsea is the first student from Windsor School at Albany to capture the BPSSY title.
It was an honor, she said, that left her “overflowing with emotions” as well as “happy and proud”.
“Even just the feeling of accomplishment crossed my heart the moment they announced my win,” said Chelsea.
She said she would like to use her title to make a difference in not just her community, but the country.
“The title of BPSSY to me means a way for me to help communicate the message that we can do whatever we put our minds to, so never give up and reach for the stars.”
The daughter of Nekeisha and Shawn Smith has maintained a cumulative grade point average of 3.98 and topped a 100-strong field for the 2021 award.
Chelsea describes herself as an outgoing but polite person who is always trying to improve. She also said that some people would even call her intelligent because of her love for learning and her being a straight A student.
She especially loves math and science and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs.
As from whom she gets her work ethic, she said it’s both her parents and her brother. And that her parents encourage her to try her best and settle for nothing but greatness, which she believes has shaped her into the person she is today, even though she is still at an impressionable age.
Chelsea, who is entering seventh grade, said her advice to her peers is to never give up.
“As one of my favorite sayings goes, ‘you will never find the word success before the word work, unless it’s in the dictionary’ – Vince Lombardi.”
She may still be young, but her aspirations include becoming a pediatrician, or an engineer for medical devices.
“I love helping people, and building/engineering/coding services.”
She is a member of the Windsor Student Council, Junior Achievement Club, STEM Club, Chess Club, Discovery Club, Debate Club, School Choir, and is involved in swimming, and athletics.
She plays water polo with the Bahamian Mantas Swim and Water Polo Club. She also participates in triathlons with the SeaWaves Triathlon Club, and trains and competes in swimming, cycling and running.