Mark Gooch

Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane recently announced the winners of the Computer Science in Your Neighborhood competition. Mark Gooch, a fourth grader at Cople Elementary School, was the Region 3 winner. The competition was a joint project of the Virginia Department of Education, the Science Museum of Virginia, and CodeVA.  Students from each of Virginia’s eight Superintendent’s Regions were to create digital “products” about their interest in computer science and how it plays a role in their daily lives. One hundred and thirty-five students and classes submitted their projects; 12 students and classes were named winners in their prospective regions. 

In the official announcement, Dr. Lane stated, “I congratulate all of the winning students – and their teachers- for their enthusiasm for this exciting field and their willingness to put their computer science skills to the test.”  Students were tasked with creating a one-minute video or digital product.  Using a greenscreen and an application called Dash, Mark spoke about how people use codes and technology to do their jobs and enhance their lives. In his short video he aptly describes many applications, including hospital technology and DOT robots.

A very self-assured student, Mark is an all A student at Cople Elementary. He is the Lieutenant of the Cople Safety Patrol and a soloist in the school choir. Following in the footsteps of grandparents and parents, he wants to attend Virginia Tech and be a “Hokie.” Mark has great plans to also be a “famous quarterback for the Virginia Tech team.” He likes to have everything in place.

Hoping to be a systems engineer, Mark started utilizing computers at the age of three and has consistently grown in skills since then.  

This is Mark’s first computer contest and he is eager to try more. Ever since he entered, Mark has been wondering how his entry had compared to others. He was “happy to win.” When asked about his academic skills, Mark stated math is his favorite subject and Virginia Studies is his least favorite. A very active young man, Mark loves to “run around” and really likes to eat, especially candy. He interacts with his friends with Roblox. He said he can play “millions of games” on it and it also allows him to create his own games.  He also said “you can even make clothing on Roblox.”

Mark is the son of Daniel and Devon Gooch of Montross. His grandmother, Kathryn Wittman is a Reading Specialist at Cople and his grandfather, Congressman Rob Wittman (R-VA) serves the first district in Washington, D.C.  Westmoreland County Public Schools congratulates Mark on his achievement.