Governor Northam comes to Danville for Computer Science Week

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DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - Eighth grader James Richardson and partner seventh grader Michael Hernandez spent Tuesday morning scheming. Their mission: to turn an ordinary object: this pen, into something brand new.

"Maybe at the bottom we could make like a flip thing and you could flip it like this," said Hernandez.

An entrepreneurial station was the second computer science themed station the boys from Westwood Middle School have visited. They also had a chance to engineer their own song.

"Through the activities here we're trying to show them that its not just programming, and its not just affecting these technical fields, its also affecting the way we make art and the way we make products, and the way we conduct agriculture," said Jessie Vernon, program coordinator for for the Institute.

The three things Vernon mentioned are three things Governor Ralph Northam wants to highlight this week.

"You know its all about being able to train the workforce of the 21st century, and I've been so impressed by what's been happening here in Danville, so today, its really about the students," said Gov. Ralph Northam.

The students getting a taste of computer science are still learning the kind of interests they have. Michael and James both love to design on their phones and play with Legos. But the goal of this whole day is for these young minds to see a state leader embracing creative pursuits and learning what their future may one day hold.

"The governor isn't necessarily a coder himself, but if you can see the governor say this is something that can benefit you for your future, we see that and are making this a standard for you to pursue as a student, I think that definitely has some weight and clout for sure," said Vernon.

While at The Institute, the governor also had a chance to talk with local farmers about how new technology is shaping agriculture. Northam had a chance to test out an autonomous gator that solely relies on GPS technology.