Students at East Lake Academy of Fine Arts unveiled their self-made websites Monday after learning about HTML coding through the Girls Inc. Build IT program.

The program, which was offered to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade girls at East Lake this year, was created to help encourage girls to get involved in mathematics and computer science.

“They’ve started making these websites from scratch,” Alexis Williams, program educator for Girls Inc., said. “They wrote HTML and built these websites. We gave them the skills and how to write the code, and they have taken it upon themselves to do it.”


Williams said although this is the first year the program has been in a Hamilton County school, she has seen success already through the students’ increased interest in technology.

“Some of them showed a slight interest in the beginning, but then to be able to do it and see what they created and then see the website, I think, has gotten a lot of them interested in a career in technology down the road,” she said.

Samantha Bautista, a seventh-grader at East Lake Academy, said she was interested in finding out more information on HTML coding and found information on her own. She then used that information to teach the eighth-graders at her school.

“When I first looked at it in the book, it looked hard, but once I got started, it was simple,” Bautista said to the class.

Bautista said she now wants to be an HTML expert when she is older.

“I thought it was cool to be able to show them things,” she said of the opportunity to teach the older girls.

East Lake Academy Principal Leandrea Ware said she hopes to see the program continue and expand at her school. 

“So often we hear that young ladies are not interested in science, they are not interested in technology,” Ware said. “This was an opportunity for us to collaborate with some community partners and bring in a program that would give them real life experiences about computer sciences, information technology and leadership. That is why this has been such a valuable collaborative effort with us this year.”