If it can happen on a computer or digitally or with a camera of some sort, Julie York at South Portland High School has likely taught it. Her classes are an outlet for many kids in the school who she says might have otherwise been “lost.”

“I try to give them things they’ll find success in but I try and make it so kids will find success- that’s why I teach so many different classes and new things,” said York.

As part of York’s teaching process, she says she reminds herself that she’s not good at certain things and can’t do others so she is reminded of what it is like to be a student.

“I find it important to give them a variety of experiences because if they didn’t like coding they might like animation. I want them to find something they love,” added York.

That variety in course work is a proven recipe for success at South Portland High, where York say administrators are very willing to let her experiment, especially since the state of Maine does not have a technology graduation requirement despite an increase in interest and jobs that are tech based.

“I have a lot of friends that work in the industry; I hear a lot about their jobs and stay on top of current employment trends for tech and video. I hear a lot of ‘we need people who problem solve, who know how to think.’ So, I try to gear my students to think broadly. I can teach anyone to code, but I try to make them learn how to do something that’s bigger, so they try and learn. Anybody can copy-paste but I’m teaching them to think,” added York.

On this day, students planned how to market the video game they designed and tested out virtual reality headsets to learn how to create a game in an alternate universe. The class not only shared the technological aspect of the game design but also the real-world principles to bring a game to market, further exposing students to the skills needed to obtain certain jobs. The college and career-ready aspect of York’s classes helps keep kids enrolled and engaged.

“I remind myself you should do things that are hard to remember what it’s like to be a student. I find it important to give them a variety of experiences because if they didn’t like coding, they might like animation I want them to find something they love,” said York.