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RC3 Prepares to launch Cyber Innovation Academy

Vinny Chiaramonte in front of server
photo credit: Jon Anderson

May 2019

(RC3) - Sophia Nateghi took a computer science class when she was in the eighth grade at Bumpus Middle School and loved it.

So when she found out Hoover was starting a Cyber Innovation Academy at the new Riverchase Career Connection Center, she was all over it.

Nateghi, who just completed her 10th-grade year at Hoover High, is one of at least 125 students signed up for the Cyber Innovation Academy, which is scheduled to begin when school starts back Aug. 8.

Nateghi said she was particularly excited that her middle school computer science teacher, Vinny Chiaramonte, is the lead teacher for the academy because she loved learning from him.

She said it’s awesome you can create a video game by doing something as simple as coding, and she would love to be a software engineer one day. She was drawn into it through video games but knows there are a lot of other uses for coding skills.

Nateghi already has created a visual novel and added animation, characters and sounds, she said. She also made an exact replica of The Impossible Quiz computer game and a software program that uses pictures of animals to help teach children how to read, she said.

Chiaramonte said he’s excited about the opportunity to launch the new academy and give students tools they can put to use immediately.

The Cyber Innovation Academy will be designed both for students interested in pursuing a college degree, such as computer science or cybersecurity, and those who would rather go straight into the workforce, he said.

“Not every kid needs to go to college,” Chiaramonte said. “To think so is kind of crazy.”

There will be four pathways initially: an introduction to computer science, networking, cybersecurity and Java programming. In another year, the academy may offer a fifth pathway dealing with databases and mainframes, but Chiaramonte said he doesn’t want to try too much the first year.

“We want to make sure everything we do, we can do with excellence,” he said.

See more from the Hoover Sun.