We had the good fortune of connecting with Victor Hicks and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Victor, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I knew there was a need for Black children to be exposed to Historially Black Colleges and Universities as well as computer science. I enjoyed teaching the content in my classroom, but I wanted to get the message and the magic out to children everywhere. The virtual learning experience was a source of inspiration of growing a once “in-person” only step team & technology ed program nationwide!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As a career, I am a Computer Science educator for elementary and middle school students. My passion for teaching computer science led to my “creation” Coding with Culture. In person, my organization provided a competitive step program for young people, The Psi Phi Beta Step Team, as well as computer science instruction. Both programs operate with a heavy focus on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Not only are students exposed to the fact these institutions exist, they also create digital artifacts representing HBCUs using coding, word processing, digital design and more. I am a firm believer that computational thought and design thinking skills are a must have for students to be sucessful. My passion is bringing culturally connected experiences to help cultivate those skill sets Has it been easy? Absolutely not! However, I would not trade my journey for anything else. I am a huge believer in energies and “everything happens for a reason”. I’ve learned from all the experiences getting to this point and being realistic about which were celebrations and which were lessons. Learning to overcome negative self-talk was huge in starting the upclimb in life. I would say one of the biggest lessons learned was taking ownership of my own mess! It’s hard to swallow sometimes that you are the reason for your own delay, stall, deterence, whatever it may be! However, it’s one of THEE most important lessons to learn so you aren’t hitting your head on the same brick wall. If I had to leave the world with one fact about me, it would be that I am committed to sending Black students to Black colleges. I know how important and impactful my experiences at both Fisk University and Clark Atlanta University were to my development as a Black Man and an educator. I want the same experience for my students, especially in this uncertain world we are living in. Black children need to be told they are capable of excellence daily. Black children need to be mentored and nurtured. Black children need to be pushed while guided. Where does this happen unapologetically? This support and commitment to seeing Black young people succeed are ther cornerstones Historically Black Colleges and Universities are built upon. I consider my life work to be building the bridge from the K-12 world to these illustrious institutions through computer science and fine arts.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I am a huge fan of cultural places, so we would definitely start our morning with breakfast at Gosha’s Breakfast Bar on Casade and then a jaunt to visit the Center for Civil and Human Rights, King’s childhood home and the King Center. I think the Westside branch of the beltine is amazing and that part of town is just full of Black culture, so Id probably suggest an afternoon just spent enjoying the Westside sights and sounds followed by a late lunch at My Potato Factory! Their baked potatoes and salads are just amazing! I don’t think there’s even a word to describe how great the Shrimp Gumbo Potato truly is! Evenings are for East Atlanta Village, so that would be my suggestion for an evening out. I lived my 20’s in the hay-days of Atlanta’s club scene, so fortunately I am able to appreciate quiter and more low-key spots in my city now! I think Atlanta’s spoken word, live music, and arts scene in general are just so dope, so we’d have to certainly check out something on the performance side as well Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The one person who inspired all of my involvment in the world of educating young people is my mom, Adrienne Hicks. Watching the amount of time, love and energy my mother put into her career teaching Black children lit a fire under me. There was an unapologetic sense of urgency and commitment to excellence because her kids looked like her. I never forgot that. I remember her desire to make sure every child in her classroom knew how excellent and extremely talented Black people are. She loved on her kids, but never allowed them to use any circumstance as a reason not to succeed. When you are raised in a household by such a dynamic and thorough educator, one can not help BUT to become inspired to change the lives of children for the better. I am forever grateful to my mom for simply being who she is!