Saint Ann’s at Code-a-thon 2019!

Lola and Cole at Code-a-thon, Dec 2019

Lola and Cole at Code-a-thon, Dec 2019

Ninth grader Lola and tenth grader Cole were the Saint Ann’s coding team at “NYC Student Disrupt,” an all-day code-a-thon featuring twenty student groups competing and sharing ideas at Riverdale Country School on Sunday, December 8, 2019.

It was a long busy day running from 8:30 to 5:30 and, as always, the programming subject wasn’t announced until the event begins, since work is not to be prepared in advance. This fall’s topic turned out to be voter turnout and our intense and cooperative high schoolers immediately brainstormed a project “VoteRide” which would use public databases and web apps to help people find and share car-pool rides to the polls. They built a “GUI” (graphic user interface) for their public “front-end” web site and crafted a “back-end” database. Cole and Lola wisely rejected the suggestion by coach Mike (Computer Department Chair Mike Roam) that their team name be “LOLe” or “Co-La,” and made a great start on their project, sharing it through a public github website as html and javascript files that could be a real app with a little more fine-tuning.

Their rapid design work included Lola’s practical comments, “First I’ll write the basics, then I’ll make it fancy-shmancy” and Cole’s awareness of realistic goals and “MVP — Minimum Viable Product.” The team worked on linking to public online databases of polling places, and they also found online lists of sex offenders that could be screened in an effort to keep the rides safe for drivers and passengers.

After hours of frantic work, Lola and Cole presented to the judges very well, but honors went to a project from Trinity, featuring chat-bots that let people “talk” with artificial intelligences that pretend to be presidential candidates Bernie and Elizabeth. Mike has been bringing Saint Ann’s teams to code-a-thons since 2015 and thinks this team deserves an award for smooth sailing, clean code, and minimal drama!