Laurel Ridge helps spark youngsters’ interest in coding, technology

For Immediate Release:
April 26, 2017

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]
Phone: 540-868-7134


Twice a month, a group of about 18-20 students gather in the Admiral Byrd Middle School media center to work on various forms of coding. On Tuesday, April 25, the ABMS Coders were building small Legos Mindstorms robots under the tutelage of Laurel Ridge Computer Science Professor Melissa Stange, and ABMS technology education teacher Dave Curry, business teacher Kelly Hicks and instructional technology research teacher Jennifer Rowan.

The club formed in February, and has done block coding, python coding, worked with ozobots, and will do HTML code, according to Curry. coding

“Every kid is different, and brings different talents to the club,” Hicks said. “We can see the personalities working together, and it’s so cool. Kids that don’t normally hang out together in school, are hanging out in the club.”

Curry said the projects the coders are working on will benefit the curriculum.

“It’s teaching good problem-solving skills,” he said.

Sixth-grader Michael Richardson was clearly interested in the robot he was making, as well as the snacks Laurel Ridge provides.

“We can do stuff like this, and if we mess up, we don’t get in trouble for it,” he noted.

Kendall Clark was one of several girls in the club.

“I wanted to learn more about coding, and I’ve always been really interested in robotics,” the sixth-grader said. “It’s really fun.”

Laurel Ridge Information Technology Professor Henry Coffman will teach Sherando’s club about cybersecurity in May, Stange said.

“We want to get more students interested in technology, and the best time to start is this age, when they’re interested and we can tie in what they’re doing in science classes, music classes, language arts,” she explained.

Rowan said, “I think it’s really important to have hands-on experience for the students to learn problem-solving solutions. Coding in the classroom allows us to impact how students view directions and how they can accomplish things in their real life.”


Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With three locations — Middletown, Warrenton, and Luray-Page County — the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Laurel Ridge offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Laurel Ridge Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees. Laurel Ridge Community College also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (

Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities. Laurel Ridge shall promote and maintain equal employment and educational opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions including lactation, age (except when age is a bona fide occupational qualification), status as a veteran, national origin, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment. Inquiries may be directed to the Associate Vice President, Human Resources, [email protected]173 Skirmisher Lane, Middletown, VA 22645, 540-868-7226.

Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.