Falmouth coding competition invites students to hack away

  • Mail this page!
  • Delicious
  • 3

FALMOUTH — Area high school students will attempt to create mobile apps or websites that benefit their schools in a first-ever 12-hour programming competition designed to create a coding culture in southern Maine.

The “hackathon” will be held at Falmouth High School April 28 and will include teams from Waynflete School in Portland, Yarmouth High School and North Yarmouth Academy. 

The competition is the idea of John Wahlig, president of the Computer Programming Club at Falmouth High School. Wahlig, a sophomore, also taught an after-school girls coding class at Falmouth Elementary this past fall.

“It’s important for high school students, especially in Maine where computer science education is lacking in more than a few places, to be exposed to the field of computer programming,” he said this week.

Wahlig said a hackathon “is a term used to describe any kind of programming competition where you work to create a new product within a certain time frame.” The goal, he said, is for each team to work together to create something that’s workable.

He has not defined what type of app or website the students should attempt to create, and said using the word, “beneficial,” was “purposely open-ended, (because) we want to see where people take this on their own.”

Wahlig is expecting about 40 students to take part in the hackathon and hopes each team will be able to create an app that would be “successful in the real world. Something cool that they will continue with even after the event is over.”

The teams will consist of three to five students, Wahlig said, who will collaborate on their proposed app for the entire event. But Wahlig is also inviting any “like-minded computer enthusiasts” to attend and said they can create teams on the spot.

Registration is free and all participants must bring is a computer and some good ideas, he said.

Along with the coding competition, hackME 2018 will also include guest speakers and mentors for each team to turn to for help, and a panel of judges.

The newly created apps or websites will be judged on “functionability, creativity, and technical difficulty,” according to the event website.

Meals will be provided and Wahlig has also lined up some corporate sponsors, who are helping to cover the cost of the event, including T-shirts and prizes. Companies already signed up include IDEXX, Tyler Technologies and the Maine Technology Institute.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what my fellow students can do … at this incredible new event,” Wahlig said. “HackME 2018 will be a great event (and) I’m already looking forward to an incredible hackME 2019.”

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KIrishCollins.

John Wahlig, a sophomore at Falmouth High School, is inviting students from area high schools to participate in hackME 2018 on April 28.