Coders unite at hackathon Code211


Photo courtesy of D211

Pavan Pandurangi, Contributing writer

Hundreds of D211 students recently attended a two-day hackathon competition, Code211, to create a project that would reflect their coding knowledge. Coders came together at Palatine High School to create a hack they could present to D211 superintendent Daniel Cates. Coders of all skill levels were welcome to attend the hackathon, and volunteers hosted workshops to teach students different aspects of computer science. The event allowed students to collaborate with peers, learn to code, and create fascinating coding masterpieces.

Workshops on Friday included the Idea Generation Workshop and the Personal Website Workshop. The Idea Generation Workshop helped competitors start their projects by giving them ideas that were presented in past hackathons. Several projects that acquired high standings were based off ideas presented at this workshop. The Personal Website Workshop shortly followed the first workshop, and it provided the students with an interface to put their work on.

Freshman Vishal Chandrasekaran reflects on his coding knowledge prior to and after the hackathon.

“I learned a lot after going to a couple workshops, and I picked up a lot of extra knowledge in Java and HTML,” Chandrasekaran said. “The experience really helped me generate ideas and program efficiently.”

The PHS media center provided a natural setting for the hackathon, and the private rooms and comfortable seating provided a suitable environment for students to work in. However, after a tiring school day on Friday, many people were exhausted. For many people, the continuous cycle of programming, eating, and resting was unfamiliar, and led to a shift in their sleep schedule.

Math teacher Charles Nichols indicates the success of the hackathon after volunteering at Code211.

“The event was fun, and I saw some really neat projects at the end,” Nichols said.

Three hacks were chosen to take the top spots, each having their own positive impacts on society. One of the winning hacks took a picture of a menu and returned the healthiest option. Another hack had a user enter a zip code, and it returned the pollution level at that location. The last hack used the user’s location to provide information about the weather.

The 20-hour event introduced many D211 students to the idea, simplicity and impact of coding.

Junior Arnav Batta thinks that the hackathon was a new experience that shed light onto concepts he was unfamiliar with.

“Code211 was my first hackathon and was truly an interesting and rewarding experience,” Batta said. “For hours on end, my team and I collaborated to bring our idea to life and we learned about Java, web scraping, and teamwork.”