The 92nd annual White House Christmas tree lighting ceremony is getting a tech twist this year. Over 300,000 people, mostly young girls, participated in Google’s Made with Code campaign to program the way the lights will dance on the 56 official White House Christmas trees during this evening’s lighting ceremony.
We don’t know what exactly 300,000 different lighting programs will look like until the actual event tonight. You can watch it live on the official White House YouTube channel at 5 pm EST.
Brittany Wenger, 20, is one of 10 chosen to go and participate in the ceremony tonight. Those in the program range in age from 4 to 20, but most are in their teens or tweens.
Wenger says each girls’ code has a very specific time, down to the “exact second.” She tried to describe how her code will look when it’s time to shine. “Mine kind of starts out blue and turns into a greenish thing and goes like a funnel,” she explained.
Wenger is a student at Duke University and an ambassador for Made with Code. Her skills were first recognized by Google after creating an app to detect breast cancer. She mentioned the White House Christmas tree lights could be programmed by anyone who has access to a computer, but that the program is geared towards and mostly made up of young women.
“Made with Code is more of an introductory learning platform to get girls interested in coding so it makes it super easy,” she said.
Wenger and the other chosen girls are at the White House waiting to see their programmed lights tonight. She seemed pretty excited to be in the same area as the president and his wife. She mentioned that she was also going to get to sit down with Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson to discuss the Made with Code program and encourage young women to go into computer science.
When asked if the president’s teen daughters Natasha and Malia participated in the program, she said, “I’m not sure, but I hope they do after this. I want to see a lot more women coding in the future.”
Any girl who wants to program something for one of the trees is encouraged to participate through Made with Code. The White House trees will continue to add more programs from anyone who submits something throughout the holiday season.