The Kickass Team
Closing the school to prison pipeline, one student at a time.
Oscar "Blk Jaguar" Hercules
Founder and CEO
TXT:Teens Exploring Technology was founded by Oscar "Blk Jaguar" Hercules, a 2008 graduate of Jordan High School. Growing up in Watts, California, Oscar "Blk Jaguar" Hercules lost friends to drugs, crime, and prison. He thanks his mentor and lacrosse coach, Mr. Wonders, for helping him to stay on track and encouraging him to pursue higher education.
As a kid, Oscar "Blk Jaguar" Hercules had a passion for technology. This interest led him to enroll in the only tech class offered at his school, which turned out to be a glorified typing class. Oscar "Blk Jaguar" Hercules was fortunate to be able to pursue his love for technology by attending college.
He received an undergraduate degree in Computer Information Systems from Cal Poly Pomona and a Master’s degree in Educational Technology from Pepperdine University. His lack of access to tech classes as an adolescent inspired him to start TXT:Teens Exploring Technolgy as a way to empower teens from impoverished neighborhoods to achieve their full potential.
A decade after graduating, Oscar "Blk Jaguar" Hercules was invited to speak with the students of his alma mater, Jordan High School. He was shocked to learn that the school’s tech curriculum had not changed since his time as a student. Teens in his school continued to lack opportunities to make them competitive in the marketplace.
What We Do
We serve young men of color between the 7th and 11th grade who come from low income communities. Since 2009, we have used the concept of developing strong teams as a way of teaching our young men of color about collaboration, ideation, and long-lasting life skills. In small teams our youths learn the process of taking an idea from concept to market. We use coding as the catalyst to take young men of color and turn them into technology leaders who build positive communities.
We train our students to learn on their own using qualitative and quantitative research methods. We use an assets-based approach to identify, develop, and leverage student’s strengths so that they can excel in the way that best suits them. As one of our core pillars, academic excellence is essential for a successful TXTer. Click here to learn about the other 3 pillars.
We push our students to think outside of the box to develop innovative solutions to community issues. Innovation happens when we least expect it, therefore we encourage youth to think and dream as much as possible. The tech world is largely disconnected from the plight of underserved communities, so our students are discovering problems and developing solutions never before seen.
TXT students go above and beyond 110% of the time because they are hungry to become the future leaders of the tech industry and of their communities. Guided by our Leadership Creed, we emphasize to our youth that they must take action and not wait for change from others to be the creators of their own futures.
Teens Exploring Technology (TXT) encourages inner city teenage Black and Latino males to become catalysts of change in urban communities. Our approach is to use technology as a tool for promoting positive youth development and leadership, and ultimately paving the pathway to higher education and majors and careers in Science, Technology Engineering, Math (STEM).