East Bay's Castlemont High School students visit Facebook

MENLO PARK (KTVU) -- Some high school students from East Oakland trekked to Menlo Park Monday to spend the day on Facebook's campus for a field trip to learn about healthy living and how the  youngsters could end up with hi-tech careers.

Castlemont High School sent 150 students to get an up close and personal look at the inner functions of the social media giant. 

And for many Castlemont students, the biggest challenge they face may be the environment outside of their classrooms.

"The biggest challenge is leaving whatever happens at home at home and when you come to school being on your top game," said June Kim, who is in the ninth grade.

Kim, 15, works to support his aging grandparents.

"I love my grandpa to death (so) it's hard to see him grow old," June said. "It's pretty hard for me to accept that's why I'm working to help out."

He said his mind is at ease at the school’s community garden, where teacher and Chef Nikki Shaw help Castlemont students see the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle.

When Shaw was notified about speaking at Facebook she asked to tag a friend, or 150 of her ninth graders. Their first lesson was how to eat healthier and ways to implement those ideas.

"I work with elementary kids from K-5 and I've talked to them about hot Cheetos and following what she has taught us," said Joshua Davis, who is also in the ninth grade.

When the students arrived, a spread of cookies and cupcakes caught their attention, but the healthier lunch options filled their plates.

 

"I eat a lot of junk food, I drink a soda, hot chips and hot fries," said students Tiera Roberts. "I need to start eating more fruits and vegetables."

Facebook’s fitness guru got the students on their feet and the teachers two stepping.

"I just want them to be empowered (and) inspired by this place and hopefully it will open up some doors for them in their future," Shaw said.

In celebration of Black History Month, it was an opportune time to invite the students out to Facebook, to show them what a career in tech could look like.

"Representation is really important and to be able to see people who look like them, who has similar backgrounds as them, who work in tech I hope makes it feel even more accessible,” said Facebook’s head of computer science education.

Their message was well received.

"This place is very inviting," June said.

By KTVU reporter Alyana Gomez.


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