On October 26-27, select students from the school’s AVID program participated in “Level the Coding Field 2013” hackathon hosted by Level Playing Field Institute at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. The event was specifically tailored for “Students in 6th – 12th grade who are interested in technology, mobile, tablets, gaming and the Internet from minority groups underrepresented in computer science”. Although AVID has not participated in an event like this before, AVID teachers encouraged students to sign up, believing the hackathon was an opportunity for AVID kids interested in the technological field to gain exposure and experience. The school’s AVID students were welcomed with a first place win in last weekend’s hackathon.
The senior AVID team “The Screaming Eagles” took home first place after they created an app that helped to spread awareness about teen suicides. The team built this app over a 20 hour period during the two day hackathon. The app focused on preventing teen suicide in a variety of ways. It incorporated a tamagotchi style interface where the user started off as a small “seed” and grew into a stronger, healthier “flower”. The user also had access to teen hotline numbers when they needed more help, and could also write in a virtual diary.
Team members Jesus Caballero, Gloria Carbajal, Estefani Gomez, Katie Gomez, Dafne Hernandez and a sixth grader from Fremont split $3000 in prize money.
“We were really shocked [when we won],” senior Dafne Hernandez said. “We couldn’t believe it.”
Not only did “The Screaming Eagles” win a considerable amount of prize money, they were also exposed to an environment they never thought they could be apart of.
“[The hackathon] taught me a lot about working with a group of people,” Dafne said. “We built something together, and the outcome was great. It taught me about myself and what I could do. I didn’t know I could build an app in two days.”
The AVID students now feel encouraged to pursue further success within these fields.
“[This experience] inspired to do more.” Dafne said. “I didn’t think about pursuing Computer Science because I did not know I could do it. I find it really cool now.”