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Hackathon Jr. August 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. Hosting a virtual event with children from Arizona, Florida, Nevada, and North Carolina. Hackathon Jr. Virtual has allowed the Jr. Hackers to collaborate and create with participants from the various states, providing a diversity in learning and the opportunity to create with participants they may have never met at an in-person event. The amazing applications created brought about winners which included members from Arizona and North Carolina. Congratulations to Rahonel, Aaron, and Forest for winning Best Hack.

Grace Stinehour (top left), Mollie McClure (top right), Forest McClure (center left), Aaron Stinehour (center right), and Rahonel Rosario (bottom right). Congratulations to Forest, Aaron and Rahonel for Best Hack.

Additionally, Hackathon Jr. Virtual hosted an event at the Daniel Center of Math and Science in Raleigh to provide access to STEM education to their children. Though there were some technical difficulties with the broadband, the children showed a resilience to adversity and continued to work extremely hard and create their apps. Congratulations to Cornelius and Kamden for winning first place.

Congratulations to Cornelius Wilson and Kamden Hughes (bottom images) for Best Hack and Ruqayyah Allyne and Pamela Lynn (top images) for 2nd Best Hack
The winners had a choice of prizes from the Ozobot Evo, Raspberry Pi, or Chromebook

During both events 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).

Congratulations to the recipients of the 4C awards. Tarana Adukoori for Collaboration, Alexander Rickert for Communication, LR Harder for Critical Thinking, and Aaron Stinehour for Creativity.

Thank you to our panel of judges who participated in the virtual events. Jacquelin Mims-Tibbs (top left) Mims an Aerospace Technologist at NASA, programming data telemetry processing systems on board in-orbit satellites. The code she developed made secure transmission of data from the satellite to the ground station possible and enabled the world to see graphical images of outer space. Mims is also CEO and Founder of My Global STEM Academy, a not for profit organization in Wake County, North Carolina. Morgan Cates (top center) who currently works for Project Shift started her professional career as an educator in Durham, NC. She served as an autism teacher and later as a special education coordinator where she was introduced to the difference that businesses can make when she saw how non-profit organizations impacted schools and students with the services they provided. Chiitra Tibbs, (top right) is Software Development Engineer at Amazon. In her free time, she is working to build, Southern Enrichment, a company focused on providing culturally based digital literacy and computer science curriculum for students’ grades 6th through 12th. Joey Costa, (bottom left) is CEO of The Tek, a Cyber Security firm that also provides I.T. Managed Services and Application Design. Lastly, Daya Reddy is a technology engineer and the operator of Coder Dojo Apex.
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, Intel, Downtown Techies, The Tek, Wedgewood of Winterhaven, Vaco, Google, and Code.org)

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 will continue to fund raise and supply laptops to those kids 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!

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