Andrew Dutil has been passionate about “Roblox,” an online community where users create and collectively play games, since age eight. Now a senior studying computer science and programming at Burlington Technical Center (BTC), Andrew turned that passion into a unique learning opportunity.

Through partnership between BTC, UVM Extension’s 4-H Program and his sending school, Andrew developed an after-school Roblox class. With team mentoring and guidance, he created four 90-minute lessons to teach younger students how to code, design and build robots in the system. The course received high marks from its participants: “If this were at my school, it would be the best class I ever took!”  

Andrew lives his life navigating the complexities of autism, and has had difficulty sharing what he loves and excels at with others. With the support of his schools and the opportunity 4-H provided, Andrew found success in this program and discovered a talent for teaching others. “It was a big responsibility to commit to 4-H to run an after-school program,” Andrew notes. The experience taught him how to manage long-term projects, design lessons, and work with younger students. “Andrew learned to be a leader, to overcome his fears, to realize the joy of sharing his knowledge, as well as how to make new friends,” adds his mom, Ann.  

This collaborative approach to creating learning experiences is what 4-H is all about. By tapping into a young person’s passion, connecting them with positive role models, and using existing structures and resources, 4-H creates safe, supportive and developmentally appropriate environments where all youth can succeed in building key life and job skills. As Andrew put it: “the whole team, together we made it happen.”

For more information: http://go.uvm.edu/youth

PUBLISHED

01-13-2020
Allison Emily Smith