SHERWOOD, Ark. – A Sherwood AP Computer Science program is one of only a dozen in the state to be awarded a Female Diversity Award from the College Board.

The AP Computer Science Principles class taught at Sylvan Hills High School received the award for the ’20-’21 school year and is set to be honored again this coming year.

To be recognized, at least 50% of the course must be made up of women. For Sylvan Hills’ previous class, the 13-member course had 7 girls.

Teacher James Pruitt says it comes after heavy school-wide recruitment for the course and a growing interest in programming.

“I recruit to get kids in my classes,” explained Pruitt. “They make a ball bounce across the screen, they make something blow up, there are all kinds of things that can occur….the interest just blows up, and there they go.”

He adds the state’s computer science requirement also increased enrollment, and certain schools even offer a computer science aid program that grants students funding for high marks on the AP exam, encouraging both men and women to sign up.

Leah LeVar is a sophomore taking Pruitt’s class, her first high-level computer science course. She says she was always interested in coding but wanted to explore programming for video game design or a possible career post-grad.

“I think more women need to be in coding,” LeVar agreed when asked about the award. “I think it’s something, in general, a lot more people should learn, but especially a lot more women.”