Senior Scarlett Patton is already ahead in the computer science industry, thanks to self-motivation and support from the high school.
“Webster gave me all of the resources that I needed to become interested in computer science and get a deeper dive. I did teach myself how to program in seventh grade and went to some camps in high school, but high school definitely enriched my experience with computer science,” Patton said. “I was also able to get A+ certified, which is what a lot of IT [informational technology] professionals have.”
Patton started her journey in Webster Groves School District where a majority of the students did- in elementary. She attended Clark Elementary, to which she attributes the foundation of her educational success.
“It was a lot of fun. I met a lot of cool people and it gave me the motivation to do well in school through middle school and now and for the future,” Patton said.
By the time Patton got to Hixson, she started teaching herself coding through video on Khan Academy. In the summer between seventh and eighth grade, she went to a coding camp called Kode with Klossy, which was founded by alumna and model Karlie Kloss.
“Ever since then [Kode with Klossy], my passion for computer science has only grown stronger,” Patton said.
Patton attended hackathons, camps, workshops and joined the high school robotics team.
“I even won third place in a cybersecurity camp and received a Raspberry Pi 4, a credit card-sized computer that can plug into a TV or monitor,” Patton said.
Patton’s mentor of four years, computer science and IT teacher Mark Young, reflected on her time with him.
“[She’s] extremely motivated, takes setbacks with stride, nothing seems to be out of limit for her,” Young said.
“For her, it’s like, ‘No, I just need more time.’ Whether she’s with the class or she’s independent, she just seems to always be successful, and I don’t think that’s by happenstance or coincidence- it’s because she’s motivated and she’s dedicated and she’s willing to try and that’s huge,” Young said.
Coding isn’t the only thing Patton spends her time on though. She’s the president of two clubs, Asian Pacific American Club (APAC) and Tea Club; student council vice president; and lead programmer and a team leader on Robotics. She’s also a member of five additional clubs, runs cross country, track and field, and plays the cello.
“To be honest it gets a little messy,” Patton said. “Google calendar has been a lifesaver, using a planner, and within studying using the Pomodoro technique.”
The Pomodoro technique uses time blocks of 25 minutes studying and five minutes taking a break to help the brain focus.
“It takes discipline because you do have to tell yourself, ‘For these five minutes, I have to step away even though I may be in the middle of something or writing an essay,’” Patton said. “I’ve found it to be effective. Is it hard? Yes, it takes practice, but when you do it, it definitely makes it [time] go by faster,” Patton said.
Patton also volunteers at various events in the community and owns her own business on Etsy- ScarlettpAndCo– which started as a fifth-grade passion project.
“I love being involved in school and involved in my community,” Patton said.
“Scarlett is secretly probably one of the hardest working students at this school. [She] won’t say anything, but just diligently works. [She’s] an amazing person, amazing student, amazing leader, and very supportive of her peers. [She’s] a great person to be around, a great person to know,” orchestra teacher Andrew Pulliam said.
Patton plans to attend Washington University in Saint Louis, majoring in computer science. “I’m a Danforth Scholar which means that I was selected out of roughly 8,000 applicants to receive a scholarship to the school,” Patton said.
This will be Lydia Urice’s third year on ECHO staff. She made several contributions while taking journalism class her freshman year. She was Podcast Editor for her first year on staff, and Junior Editor her second year.