Nineteen local students graduated from Facebook Academy on Aug. 3 with great fanfare at the tech giant’s Menlo Park headquarters.
With parents and their coaches from Facebook in attendance, the students — all high school juniors from low-income or underprivileged families in Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Redwood City and San Francisco — were given awards and discussed their accomplishments in the six-week internship program. The students received professional training while working full-time alongside Facebook employees in departments that included coding, communications, facilities, finance operations, information security, public policy and media partnerships, according to Facebook.
“We had a lot more freedom than we expected,” Alfonso Arreguin said on stage with student teammate Folashade Akinola celebrating their award for work in information security.
David Civil, Ricanthony Gold, Santy Mendoza and Ruby Rodriguez — going by Team TBD — received a coding award for developing an app called CheckIt that acts like a social network for youth fashion that the team plans to launch as an experiment at Menlo School before possibly marketing it.
Dianne Vela, a junior at Woodside High School, said none of the students knew each other beforehand, but quickly bonded and plan to stay in touch, though some didn’t know what to make of the internship at first. Facebook created a private Facebook group for the students to keep in contact.
“We hated our first coding class, but we weren’t asking questions,” Vela said. “No one there had taken a coding class before.”
The academy has enrolled 100 local students since 2012. Each student is provided with a…
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