Summer Geek Squad Academy Camp Prepares Students of Today for Jobs of Tomorrow

While many students spend the start of their summer vacation playing outside, about 100 students in DeSoto were back in the classroom.

They attended the Best Buy's Geek Squad Academy at DeSoto High School, a summer camp that teaches students between the ages of 10 and 18 computer coding, digital music production, digital photography, and internet safety.

"Traditional schooling is a lot of teacher-driven activities," said Andrae Rhyne, DeSoto's GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) Project Director, which brought the free camp to DeSoto. "This, the kids are learning they are in charge of their learning and it opens up a world of possibilities for them."

According to the Department of Labor, more than 80% of jobs will require tech skills by next year, but not all students have equal access to technology. That's why the Geek Squad Academy came to DeSoto.

The goal is to get teenagers who are consumers of technology like YouTube and social media, to think bigger picture.

"What we really want them to think about is, how can they be actual creators," said Andrea Riehl of Best Buy's Geek Squad. "How can they create content for YouTube? How can they express themselves through photography taking their own pictures? How can they create their own songs?"

"There's people around here that's making money selling beats," explained Miles Johnson. The 13-year old said he played piano and drums, and wanted to learn how to digitally produce music. "I need to use the resources and the materials that I have, so that's what I love about this class and what I carry away from it."

Across the hallway, Davinique Roberson was learning how to use a DSLR camera to capture images, and open her mind.

"I have very good career choices that I want to do later in life, like become a voice actor, an animator, something like that," Roberson said. "So this helps me know what I need to know and be able to use the technology that I need."

The Geek Squad Academy will go to 60 communities this year, most of them where students are undersevered in the technology fields.

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