Sahana’s Experience at the National Christmas Tree Lighting

Exciting. Educational. Enjoyable. These are the three words I would use to describe my experience at the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at the White House. From seeing President Obama to meeting Fifth Harmony, it was an experience I will neveIMG_4266r forget!

When we first boarded the bus to the event, we were thoroughly briefed on all of the security procedures. After reaching our destination, we were given gifts from Google’s Made with Code team. I’m not going to lie; this made us girls even more excited. Google kindly helped us tackle the cold weather by presenting us with scarves, hats, and hand warmers. We walked over to our seats on the White House Lawn and were amazed to find out we were near the very front! It took a while for the production to get started, but we took the extra time to get to know each other. Meeting these other Girl Scouts and quickly developing strong friendships was one of the highlights of the event.

When the lights went down, we knew the production had started. It was very fascinating to see the in and outs of creating a TV production. There were lights strategically positioned and cameras almost everywhere! Timing was integral for success, and observing how various teams of the production worked together to make the show run smoothly further highlighted the importance of teamwork and communication. As Girl Scouts, we are often taught fundamental skills regarding teamwork. Watching the creation of this production gave us a chance to see how these skills can be utilized in the real world.

Whenever a performer appeared on stage, the entire crowd erupted into applause. I had never seen artists such as Fifth Harmony in person before and watching them close to us on stage greatly heightened the excitement. All the performances were lively and sensational. We clapped along and waved our hands, completely enjoying the show.  When President Obama came up on stage, we all got up and tried to take pictures. It was the first time I had ever seen the President in person and it was quite memorable.

After the production was over, we were escorted to a heated tent that had delicious refreshments. But that wasn’t the best part – the artists came in themselves and took pictures with us! There was an area of the tent set up for photos and we had so much fun taking pictures with the fake snow, reindeer antlers, Santa hats, and all of the Christmas props. Aside from all the amusing photos taken by a Polaroid camera, there was also the opportunity for us to code a tree using Google’s new program.

Google’s program allowed us to code the lighting patterns on the Christmas trees. We could choose the color of the lights, the pattern they moved in (up, down, left, right), the speed at which they moved, and multiple other factors. It gave an opportunity to understand the concept of variables in computer science at a very fundamental level. It was very user-friendly and intriguing! Having taken computer science at my high school, I was used to the analytical thinking required in this field, and felt that the skills introduced in Google’s program were very similar to what I had learnt in my class.

I am very thankful to have the opportunity to attend a STEM magnet high school where I have been exposed to a myriad of STEM fields. We have many different labs in our school including a neuroscience one, which is what I am hoping to pursue. In the neuro lab, we have cutting-edge technology and various live organisms that help further develop our comprehension of the intimate details in the subject. Without the opportunity to take the neurobiology class and talk to seniors who worked in the neuro lab, I definitely would not have discovered this was one of my interests. Opportunity and exposure is what is critical for helping girls discover STEM.

I strongly believe that STEM is the future and it is imperative that more girls pursue careers in the STEM field, acting as role models for the future generations. The world is rapidly changing with the advancements in technology and it is up to our generation to seize these opportunities and make the most out of them. Google’s Made with Code program has definitely brought national attention to the computer science field and hopefully, inspired girls around the nation to try coding! With more opportunities, we can definitely help girls become more involved in STEM.

Thank you so much Girl Scouts for the opportunity to attend the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony!