From pandemic to in person, how things have changed for the SSD Pathway

New pathway grows amidst adaptations due to COVID

Photo illustration by Grace Dixon

Photo illustration by Grace Dixon

Gabe Hoselton , Editor

At Enochs, the Systems and Software Development (SSD) Pathway, beginning in the year of COVID, has emerged into a blooming pathway through students like Grace Dixon and with the help of advisor Brad Cornwell. 

As the SSD Pathway wrapped up their first event for the year, we explore the differences felt from last year and what is to come for the pathway. 

The “Welcome Back Event” was held by the SSD pathway on Thursday, August 26th after school in the quad. With a turnout of almost 50 students and administrators Amanda Moore, Tom Nipper, and Ryan Sherwood, the event was the pathway’s most successful venture yet. There were games such as three-way chess, badminton, Cards Against Humanity, and lots of food ranging from Mountain Mike’s Pizza to Oreos and Capri Suns. 

Last year, the pathway had several events, all being virtual until May. The pathway had Minecraft Nights, an Among Us night, a watch party for Thanksgiving, and a digital trivia night around Christmas with gift card prizes. The only in-person event last year was the Minecraft Night where around 15 students attended. It was similar to the “Welcome Back Event,” but with a much smaller turnout and without a school campus to utilize.

Comparing this year’s first event to last year’s Minecraft night, expectations have been blown out of the water. The Minecraft night was filled with technical difficulties, people dropping off the server, and others losing audio through the Microsoft Teams meeting. The technical challenges of Minecraft Night were not unusual throughout the school year. 

When asked about the struggles of creating a pathway in the midst of a pandemic, advisor Brad Cornwell stated that “building relationships, engaging students, building a warm and welcoming environment, and supporting students and their diverse needs” was especially difficult.

Throughout the year, engagement from students at events and fundraisers was low. This year, records have been hit at the fundraiser and event held by the pathway in just August. The Tea Shack Fundraiser saw more people cycle through than before, raising more money for the pathway. There was no leftover food or drinks, and the event even received administrative appearances. 

So, what is next for the pathway?

Since the return of in-person, student involvement in the pathway has skyrocketed. “I can tell that people are starting to grasp the amazing topic of computer science,” stated Grace Dixon, one of the Events Coordinators for the Pathway.

In the fall semester, the pathway is hosting four more events, six more fundraisers, and is even planning a field trip. The leadership team for the pathway has grown exponentially from last year, consisting of almost 30 members, from the initial 5. 

The leadership team has 10 officers, including President Gabriel Hoselton, Vice President Noah Arnold, and the Events Coordinators Grace Dixon and Shivneil Pal, and six more officer positions. Each officer has a support team helping to create events, find places to fundraise, create unique fliers, and much more. 

In late September, the next SSD Pathway Fundraiser will be held at Mountain Mike’s Pizza on Floyd and Roselle in the Village One Shopping Center. 

The prospective field trip for the SSD Pathway is to Santa Cruz to visit UC Santa Cruz for their developed Computer Science Program.

The SSD Pathway aims to provide knowledge about future careers, training, and certifications for specific branches of computer science, as well as scholarships and internships for those seeking post-secondary education for computer science. 

“Building the largest computer science program in the state and attracting big tech companies from the bay to the valley” is Mr. Cornwell’s main goal for the pathway. Mr. Cornwell came from Johansen High School, where he created the DATA pathway. Feeling limited in his potential, Mr. Cornwell transferred to Enochs where resources were in abundance.

Unfortunately this year, two computer science classes were dissolved, as the school was unable to hire a teacher who could teach both math and computer science. Almost 60 students were dispersed into other classes. The pathway has plans to expand two more classes into the mix by next year, but it may not happen due to a lack of staff.

The pathway has many things in the books and is ready to give students a great year.