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Students Code & Learn with Will Smith

Does visiting Microsoft, meeting Will Smith, and learning how to code your own video game sound like an exciting way to prepare for your future? In October, 140 Kent-Meridian Technology Academy students had the opportunity to find out.

Their visit to Microsoft’s Redmond campus began with exploring how learning coding skills can open up many career paths, like video game programming. They learned about Microsoft tools for coding to create and play their own video games.

In the afternoon students got great surprise, they joined Microsoft employees to listen to actor Will Smith, yes, that Will Smith, and film director Ang Lee talk about new digital technologies that were used in the making of their upcoming film Gemini Man. 

After the event, Will Smith and Ang Lee stayed to meet with our students, answer questions, and take photos.

“Technology is a tool to chase our dreams,” Ang Lee said. Students will find success in anything they do when they have “a restless kind of curiosity.”

Will Smith shared he believes success comes when you have “a comfort, a desire, for failure” so you can learn from your mistakes and get better at what you do.  He told the audience “don’t hit the breaks when you see failure” and to “push into the failure zone.”

A student asked Smith how he built up his confidence as a young man.

“It’s not confidence, or fearlessness, but not being afraid that people won’t like what you do or create,” Smith answered. He said he developed “a relationship with fear” so that he could keep pushing the creative boundaries of his music and acting without fearing peoples’ criticisms.

Kent-Meridian High School’s principal, David Radford, said he was grateful students had this valuable experience that students would remember for the rest of their lives.

“Our mission is to help students prepare for college, career, family, and citizenship and I know that these 140 students learned valuable lessons in all of these areas," he said.