Press Releases

JA Students Program Robot to do the “Nae Nae”

May 10, 2016

Congrats to Sweetwater High School’s Antoine Serrano and Cristian Espitia.  They placed first and as “atrick” performed the song “Watch Me” by doing the “whip” and “nae nae.” Check it out on JA's You-Tube Channel.

SAN DIEGO – May 10, 2016 – San Diego City College (SDCC) announced today that it will host a Robot Programming Competition for high school students on Saturday, May 14 from 9 a.m. to noon. The event, sponsored by Junior Achievement (JA) of San Diego County, SB 1070 CTE Regional Pathways, and the College, Career & Technical Education (CCTE) department in San Diego Unified School District, will feature two-person teams competing through a series of challenges that involve using software to program an NAO interactive robot to perform different moves.

“We are thrilled to host this competition and provide one of our robots for the students,” said Dean Rose LaMuraglia of the SDCC School of Business, Information Technology and Commuications. “If you look at the labor market, there’s a huge need for programmers, so events like these help us prepare students to compete in our increasingly technical world.”

The college robot, Patrick, is used to spark interest in computer programming among high school students (especially women and minorities) and for in-class demonstrations. Students in grades 9-12 throughout San Diego County, who have taken an entry-level computer science class, have been invited to attend. A group of 30-40 students is expected to compete for prizes provided by The Microsoft Store, SeaWorld, ESET and Otterbox. “Coding is fun and creative, and anyone can do it,” said Gail Lake of CCTE. “We’re excited to provide this opportunity for students throughout San Diego County to collaborate, code and create.”

Teachers from San Diego Unified, led by CorriAnne Burgess from Kearny High and Scottie Lee from Clairemont High, envisioned this event as they prepared for the new AP Computer Science Principles course that starts this fall. They realized part of their preparation should include events like this competition, to recruit and engage students.

“The need for these high-tech skills is critical to the San Diego workforce and we are so thankful to San Diego City College, San Diego Unified, CCTE and SB 1070 CTE Regional Pathways for giving us the unique opportunity to teach digital literacy to our kids,” said Flora Barron, Work-Based Learning manager at JA of San Diego County, a non-profit that teaches kids how to get a job, start a business and manage money.

Saturday’s competition is a part of JA Job Shadow initiative, which strives to inform, inspire, and prepare students to be successful in their future professional pursuits by giving them the opportunity to learn firsthand from working professionals.

About San Diego City College

 Established in 1914, San Diego City College serves as the educational cornerstone of downtown San Diego. A 60-acre urban campus, City College serves more than 16,000 students, offering nearly 200 majors and degrees, 500 certificates, and 1,800 classes. City College is part of the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD), the second largest of California’s 72 community college districts, which also includes Mesa College, Miramar College and Continuing Education. For more information, visit

About Junior Achievement of San Diego County

Since 1950, Junior Achievement of San Diego County has provided life-changing programs to more than 730,000 youths — in the classroom and after school — to foster an understanding of how the “real world” works. To ensure youths are prepared for their future, JA teaches them how to get a job, start a business and manage money. Home to the popular McGrath Family JA BizTown and Mission Fed JA Finance Park, JA of San Diego will reach 70,000+ youths from 36 school districts during the 2015-16-calendar school year. JA San Diego receives support from more than 5,200 volunteers annually, including 48 board members, and has a staff of 22 and a budget of $3 million. For the latest news and information, please visit:

About SB 1070 CTE Regional Pathways

SB 1070 CTE Regional Pathways is a collaborative initiative that coordinates regional K-14 alignment for Career Technical Education in San Diego and Imperial counties. As a result of the work, thousands of local students have been introduced to careers in the fields of information and communication technologies/digital media, health, global trade & logistics, biotechnology/life sciences, advanced transportation and renewables, small business, and advanced manufacturing. SB 1070 CTE Regional Pathways brings together high school teachers, community college faculty and industry experts to transform Career Technical Education so it inspires students to be prepared for high-wage, high-demand careers of the future. For more information visit: