Hackathon Jr. July 2020 Newsletter

As every organization in the nation and around the world has had to adjust to the way they are serving the community, Hackathon Jr. has gone virtual. Not being able to meet in person to host an event, was not going to stop our ability to serve the community and provide children the opportunity to have access to STEM education.

We hosted our 2020 National Championship on July 13 – 17 with the winners of previous Hackathon Jr. events from Dayton, Nevada; Raleigh, North Carolina; Phoenix, Arizona; and Tampa, Florida. The event was extremely successful, ending with presentations that were incredible and crowning the 2020 National Champions.

Congratulations 2020 National Champions - Avery Hicks (left), Kailynn Brooks (center), and Shom Tailor (right)
The winners had a choice of prizes from the Ozobot Evo or the Raspberry Pi

The children attended a Ted Talk presented by Larson Rivera, a very gifted young man. Larson is a recent high school graduate and amateur computer scientist with five years of experience involving circuit design with Arduino and Raspberry Pi, as well as programming in Java, Python, and variants of C and C++. Having learned most of his design techniques and development practices from personal trial and error, his projects are mainly oriented around exploration of certain technologies rather than creating end-use products. This has led to a variety of creations that push the limits of certain engineering concepts simply because it’s possible to do so, and thus, his most recent (and most ambitious) project involves a sweatshirt, complex 3D animation, and a plethora of multicolor LEDs.

At each event, the Hackathon Jr. team selects a student the exemplifies one of the 4 C’s (collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity). For the National Championship we chose one student who embodied all four of the 4 C’s throughout the entire week event.

Congratualtions to John Daniel Kennedy the recipient of the 2020 National Championship Leadership Award.

Thank you to our panel of judges who participated in this virtual event. Shannon T. Wilson (left) is a business savvy technologist with over 25 years of experience in higher education. In his current role as the VP of Application Engineering for the University of Phoenix he is responsible for both Academic and Marketing technologies. Dr. Lilia Santiague (center) currently serves as the Associate Dean of Instruction for Doctoral Education with the College of Doctoral Studies at the University of Phoenix. Dr. Lilia has worked in higher education for more than 15 years in the roles of Academic Advisor, Student Organization Advisor, College Counselor, Faculty, Researcher, Consultant, and Administrator. Lastly, Joey Costa, (center) CEO of The Tek, a Cyber Security firm that also provides I.T. Managed Services and Application Design.
As we move forward, we will continue to host virtual events until it is safe to have events once again in person. Our next event is July 31st – August 1st.
We are excited to partner with the Daniel Center in Raleigh, North Carolina to host an event for their children on August 5th - 6th, 2020. The mission of The Daniel Center for Math and Science (The Daniel Center) is to narrow the education gap for at-risk and disadvantaged children; and to prepare and motivate these young people to pursue a post-high school education through proven teaching, tutoring, and learning experiences.

The uncertainty of the school year has made it difficult for parents and students. As mentioned in our prior newsletter, there are still many children without access to a computer for distance learning. So, we continue to fund raise to supply laptops to those in need for the school year.

This is our opportunity to support the community with technology and education. Through no fault of the child's, their education is now disrupted. No computer means falling behind and possibly having to redo the entire school year. We have setup a nomination form on our website for teachers across the country to nominate students in need of a computer to complete their schoolwork through distance learning.

We are asking the community and organizations to step in and support the educational needs of children in need of a laptop. Hackathon Jr. strives to even the playing field by providing STEM education as well as computers to children in need, but we need your help. Support the kids in your community today by donating!

Thank you to our sponsors and mentors who support our mission and give of their time to mentor and support the kids at our events (University of Phoenix, Downtown Techies, The Tek, Wedgewood of Winterhaven, Vaco, Google, and Code.org)