Nardin’s Hackathon!

Motif appearing on the front and back of the Hackathon tee-shirts; designed by Arushi Renschler Pandey.

Motif appearing on the front and back of the Hackathon tee-shirts; designed by Arushi Renschler Pandey.

Kasia Krzyzanska

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On Friday December 1, Nardin academy hosted its first hackathon. A hackathon is an invention marathon, giving students twelve hours to solve a problem by coming up with a product through their engineering and coding skills. Traditional hackathons in more professional environments usually last 24 or even 48 hours, but the time allotted to these Nardos from 8:00AM to 8:00PM was still enough time for students to create viable inventions. Although these creations do not exist in their final form, many prototypes that included the basic features were nonetheless produced.

Both elementary and high school students participated in this event, collaborating with their team mates in small groups and taking part in workshops that would elaborate on certain aspect of their project’s design. The day began with Gregg Mojica, the keynote speaker who created a popular app called Viper while he was still in high school and who is the chairman and CEO of a project called Clovis, even though he’s currently under twenty years old. Gregg would host a workshop on web development later in the day and would additionally help out with students’ projects. In fact, many engineers and other developers volunteered to mentor our hackathon’s participants, giving advice and generally assisting in the design of the innovations. This along with workshops concerning app creation, marketing, graphic design, and coding allowed higher quality products to be devised, and due thanks goes out to the volunteers who gave their time for this event. Towards the evening there was a special presentation by the Nichols robotics team led by the software engineer Jon Kiddy. Their snowmobile-sized robot could catch and throw a ball while maneuvering around the gym floor, shooting baskets and playing catch with the students. Needless to say, it was super cool, especially considering the fact that it was largely student-built.

Despite all that was going on, students spent a majority of their time working on their projects within their groups. Each student had chosen a role as either a Hustler, Engineer, Hacker, or Designer, and played their part accordingly in the development of their innovation. Five high school teams formed out of the total 51 middle and high school students who signed up. Of these teams, the projects that were produced included three apps, a website, and even a robot, all solving some problem identified by the students at the start of their day. Among them was Community United, which would ease volunteering management; HitchHike, a Nardin-based version of Uber; the NardoBot, a robot designed to help distribute papers in class; On My Way, a skill sharing app; and Recalculate, which would track recycling. These projects were judged according to their creativity, problem solving, design, and technical work, with separate prizes given out to the middle school and high school participants. After a science-fair styled exposition, the prizes for Most Creative Hack, Best Design, Best Approach to Problem Solving, and Best Technical Hack were given, respectively, to the Community United, NardoBot, Recalculate, and On My Way teams, with each member receiving a $25 gift certificate to Best Buy. HitchHike won the Grand Prize as the Most Innovative Hack, with each team member receiving a $50 gift certificate.

Congratulations to all our fellow students, and thank you to Mrs. Pam Healy, Ms. Aimee Bloom, and Ms. Colleen Zimmerman for directing this event and thanks goes out likewise to the other sponsors. Hopefully, Nardin will be able to host such an event again next year.

 

Participating Students

Community United: Tajma Fairclough, Juliane Hyvert, Say Eh Moo, Nia Spencer, and Annelise Wall

Recalculate: Elle Carlsen, Megan Davison, Mae Jauch, and Jackie Zanghi

Nardo Bot: Jayden D’Angelo, Victoria Keane, Mia Sidor, and Kaitlyn Vogel

On My Way: Julia Brace, Hannah Francisco, Kasia Krzyanska, and Monica Nuttle

HitchHike: Elisabet Abdissa, Lizzy Becker, Julie Cheon, Candace Erni, and Arushi Renschler Pandey

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