Keys to Success: South Florida entrepreneur teaches coding to local children

(WSVN) - Imagine being told by a teacher you would never amount to anything. Well, one South Florida woman is not only proving that teacher wrong; she’s giving young children the “Keys to Success.” 7’s Katrina Bush has her inspiring story.

Even when she was very young, Felecia knew what she wanted to do with her life.

Felecia Hatcher, Executive Director, Code Fever: “I taught myself how to code, and I could rewire cable into my room when my parents wouldn’t let me have cable in my room. I wanted to be an engineer.”

But she was told she would never realize her dreams because she didn’t have the grades to get into college.

She proved them wrong.

Felecia Hatcher: “Even when my guidance counselor told me I’d never make it to college, I still went on to win $130,000 in scholarships. I worked for Sony, I worked for the NBA, I worked for Nintendo.”

And now she is working to show other South Florida kids they can succeed, too — through a program she and her husband founded called Code Fever.

Felecia Hatcher: “We’ve trained over 3,000 students in digital literacy, computer programming.”

Felecia Hatcher

But these students aren’t just playing on computers. They’re learning how to write computer programs and build a website for the Adrienne Arsht Center.

Jairo Ontiveros, Adrienne Arsht Center: “Felecia and Code Fever are working now with one of the largest performing arts centers in the country to create a website specifically that will influence 26,000 seventh-graders for the next 10 years.”

Students have eight weeks to learn coding and then get to see their imagination come to life online.

Catherine Garcia, eighth-grader: “I’m excited because you can create you ideas and put it on a page where people can go on and see what you’ve done.”

The skills these kids learn can open doors in any number of fields.

Paxton Clubb, fifth-grader: “Either be a cyber criminal detective, like you try to find electronic fingerprints of hackers, or just someone that builds rockets.”

And the students aren’t just learning to dream big. They’re learning how to work with others and try out new ideas.

Jairo Ontiveros: “I think this is a perfect platform for them, a trial and error to try things and fail, but have people there and have adults there and have support there.”

Felecia is a mother now, too, and says being able to teach kids the keys to success is what makes her happy.

Felecia Hatcher: “I wake up in the morning and I say, ‘Is this an amazing place for my daughter and young people to grow up?'”

Because no kid should be told their dreams are impossible.

The program is free for local children. To learn more about how your child can get involved with Code Fever or the Arsht Center, click on the links below.

FOR MORE INFO:

Code Fever

Adrienne Arsht Center

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