Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

Decoding the Future

Posted 05/17/2019 by Michela Puni-Nimako

graphic by AJ Domagala

The Center for Communication and Technology (CCT) program made a lasting impact on my high school experience and future endeavors.

One of my proudest accomplishments throughout my high school career was taking part in the Center for Communication and Technology Magnet program (CCTM). CCT is a four-year elective program that allows students to get involved in industry standard training and take classes such as Robotics, Web Applications, Software Engineering, 3D Design, and Communications. My time in this program gave me the opportunity to grow my knowledge and advance my skill set in the technological field. Senior Jon Serrano voiced, “Learning and getting technical experience in software and photography has been really fun.” While in the CCT program, I learned valuable problem solving techniques, communication skills, and at the same time, earned college credit for free. CCTM operates as a business model and prepared me for the workforce I will eventually enter in the future.

As a freshman, I took the Intro to CCT class, where I was given insight on what to expect as I chose my CCT classes the following years. In this class, students are able to delve in each class’ course topics and learn the basics for each of them. Working on numerous projects ranging from animating a replica of Thomas Jefferson High School to creating Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) web pages gave me a sense of what I would do if I went into 3D Animation or Web Design. While these assignments were fun to work on, it was also easy to fall behind. Having seen the challenges a CCT student may face, Intro to CCT teacher Grant Laman advises students to keep up with the workload by taking advantage of the time given during school hours. Like my peers, Intro to CCT provided a clear path for me to see the variety in the program and know that there were many options available for me.

Come sophomore year, I enrolled in Software Engineering 1 and Photography 1. This is the year where CCT students branch off into the areas that interest them most, shaping what the rest of their CCT experience will look like. The two classes I decided to take catered to a lot of my passions. In Software Engineering 1, I was able to incorporate my storytelling talents while creating countless games. Photography 1 helped bring out my artistic qualities and with the assignments being so different, I was also given a challenge which I enjoyed.  

As a junior, I took Software Engineering 2 and Yearbook. I was one of the two writers for TJ’s 2017-2018 yearbook. Being in this class allowed me to learn more about TJ and the students who go here.  I also had a hand in making a book that students will keep forever. Software Engineering 2 centered mainly around the AP Computer Science Principles Exam. In this class, I learned new computer science concepts through websites such as While I was creating games and apps, I was also gaining knowledge on the foundations of computer science. At the end of this course, I earned a score of five on the AP Exam as well as a sense of what I wanted to do after high school.

CCT students are also given the opportunity to participate in the  Denver Public Schools (DPS) CareerLaunch paid internship program. The internships are six weeks long and based on the student’s interests. Serrano expressed, “CCT students can pursue an internship in the technical area they are involved in.” I engaged in a software engineering internship as a rising senior. In this internship, I gained insight on what a software engineer does, what I do and don’t like about different types of software engineering, and I built a virtual data center for the very first time in my life. Students who participated in the CareerLaunch program left their internships with more experience and a little bit of pocket money.

Software Engineering Pathways and Newspaper were the classes I decided to end my high school career on. In Newspaper, I continued to utilize my writing skills in a relaxing atmosphere, minus the approaching deadlines, and be around amusing, talented people everyday.  Newspaper did not just stop at writing articles, students and Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher Eileen Adair talked about the real world and issues happening around us which we could relate to the student Journalism we were a part of at TJ. In Software Pathways, I made a collaborative project with a fellow student, senior Halle Bristow. We built a demo virtual walkthrough of TJ to help incoming first-year students and visitors navigate the school, knowing how lost we would get at the beginning of our high school careers. It was a year-long project which tested our project management skills. After presenting the project at the 2019 Project Management Institute (PMI) Dinner, we won first place for the PMI Project of the Year award.

Participating in the CCT program opened my eyes to all the opportunities available in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). The program prepared me for a number of careers such as journalism, photography, software engineering, 3D graphics and so on. Even though I have chosen to pursue software engineering as a career, CCT gave me the confidence that I could succeed in any other career. Seeing the benefits the technical courses have provided me with, I encourage incoming freshmen and current students to join the program. While looking back on his time in CCT with robotics and software engineering, Senior Chris Anver reflected, “It helped shape what I wanted to do in college, which is engineering.” The program builds great skill and reveals one’s potential in STEM. Everyone is given the opportunity to pursue their passions in whichever pathway they choose such as photography or journalism, and they are able to incorporate their talents into their school work.