Stuyvesant Hosts Local Hack Day

Stuyvesant hosted a StuyHacks Local Hack Day on Saturday, December 2, where middle and high school students from around New York collaborated on various innovative coding projects

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By Navid Kashem

StuyHacks hosted Local Hack Day, a hackathon, on Saturday, December 2. Over the course of 12 hours, 250 middle school and high school students from New York gathered on the first three floors to brainstorm coding projects and to execute them.

Once all of the projects were submitted, they were judged by a panel of computer scientists, and the winning projects were awarded prizes, such as Amazon Echo Dots or Virtual Reality (VR) Headsets.

Stuyvesant alumni, seniors taking advanced computer science classes, and three experienced volunteers from Upperline School of Code, a gold sponsor of StuyHacks, helped the participants with their coding.

“This is probably some people’s very first time experiencing full-on coding, and for others it’s more just practice and trying to come up with new ideas,” said sophomore Ahmed Sultan, who was a member of the group that won first place. Sultan’s group created a program called Twood, which detects the mood and emotion of a tweet. Various other awards were given out, such as Best Beginner Hack and Best Game.

“If you want to win next time or do better you try to learn how to program better,” said Sean Ma, an eighth grade student at South Orangetown Middle School.

Local Hack Day was an opportunity for programmers with varying levels of experience to work together. This year, 40 percent of the participants attended schools other than Stuyvesant. “Marketing did a really good job with gathering people from and around the city,” Wu said. “Even people from New Jersey came here today.”

StuyHacks encourages participants to see how computer science can be applied outside the classroom. “I really like that the limits of what you can do in coding and programming. The limits of telling a computer what to do are kind of limitless. I mean, your imagination is really the limit,” junior Shayan Chowdhury said.