Back in May, the 13th to be exact, I took a group of four Rockhurst High School students from AP Computer Science Principles class to compete in a JavaScript programming competition hosted on the CodeHS platform.

Code Hard Olympiad 2018

These hawklets took first place and took some time to followup with a short reflection about their experience.The programming challenge was put together by Harold Smith and the Manual Career Technical Center.

First Place Winners, Code Hard Olympiad 2018

Tanner: The coding competition was a great experience for me. I really enjoyed being able to go to a competition for code. It’s really enlightening to see how well we can do in a high pressure situation. I really appreciate the work of my partner during the competition as well. The teamwork really helped us accomplish our goals. I wrote the code while my partner, Watson, figured out the logic behind the problem. By the time I had finished getting the setup code in place, Watson had figured out the logic and then I’d code it. This sort of dynamic allowed for us to finish quickly.

Watson: The coding competition was a really great experience for me. Not only did my partner and I walk away with medals and some great prizes, but we got a lot out of the experience itself. There’s something very satisfying about looking up from your computer after concentrating intensely on a problem and submitting it, and trying to guess which other teams might have beaten you. The segments in between problems were also interesting, as we got to hear colleges explain the benefits and opportunities presented if we continued to pursue a career in technology.

Working hard to solve some problems...

Joseph: I really did enjoy myself at the competition. It is a rare opportunity to spend a day downtown and it is even more of an unusual event when you spend it writing Javascript with a bunch of strangers. Being at Rockhurst you submit yourself to a bubble of some sort. Seeing and Spending the day with the same people, this bubble only exposes you to a fraction of the diversity and culture that Kansas City has to offer. Spending time with kids that either come from Leawood, or, well… Leawood is a repetitive experience, and while I am not saying I do not enjoy my Leawood Compadres, it is always beneficial to break the mold every now and again. This is by far and away the most important part of the trip for myself. It is not just about winning, or the competition, it is about conversing with people that you share a common interest with. Especially if these are people you would never normally meet. All in all, this should be a normal event for Rockhurst, it is high time we branch out a little bit as a school and as individual students and reach out to people that we would rarely, if ever get a chance to spend time and collaborate with. Also, it never hurts to spend a day with our fearless leader Mr. Clark.

Aidan: The coding competition was a great learning experience from my last one at K-State. I felt that my experience at Manual Career and Technical Center was more baseline rather than a complex and stressful environment. I appreciated the simple code and grade process with the implementation of Code HS. Throughout the period we had to code, my partner Joe and I came up with a system where he typed up all the input while I figured out the math to solve the outputs. In the end of the day, I thought the ideas of prizes and medals drove competition higher and higher, helping individuals improve their skills. Overall, I would highly recommend this competition for anyone remotely interested in coding just for the experience of competition.

In the end, they each won a pair of Beats by Dre. Three of them are seen sporting them in class the next day:

Beats by Dre