Moorpark teens break coding in computing competition

Richard Gillard/The Oak Newspapers

Richard Gillard/The Oak Newspapers

In your mark, get set, code!

Teenagers from all around the county gathered in Camarillo one current Friday evening to do some mass pc hacking. Somewhat than fear, officers inspired it.

Highschool college students, greater than 100 of them from 40 totally different faculties, have been on the Ventura County Workplace of Schooling for the annual Hackathon by the Sea. Teenagers have been challenged to create an app or web site that solves an issue or fills a necessity – and so they solely have hours to take action.

The general winner was a trio from Nordhof Excessive Faculty in Ojai Unified Area. Gavin Johnson, Orvis Majolas, and Caleb Saucedo constructed a system that enables crops or gardens to be monitored remotely from wherever on this planet. The app sends real-time information in regards to the crops’ temperature and humidity to the cloud, the place it may be accessed through a cell phone or pc.

Two highschool college students at Moorpark Faculty, Hershraj Niranjani and Alex Sherbrooke, took first place within the training class and second prize general in the course of the competitors, which started on the night of 6 January and ended within the afternoon of seven January.

Creative Technology - Occupy

Artistic Know-how – Hershraj Niranjani and Alexander Sherbrooke take second place with their PeerConnect app at Hackaton by the Sea, the annual occasion offered by the Ventura County Workplace of Schooling. Above, Nordhof Excessive Faculty’s Gavin Johnson, Caleb Sauceda, and Orvis Majolas completed first general within the occasion.

Hershrag and Alex mentioned they labored all evening on sheer adrenaline with a purpose to end their app.

“I attempted to nap a few times, however I could not assist however take into consideration some points we have been having that Alex was attempting to hack whereas I used to be attempting to relaxation,” Hershrag mentioned.

Their brainchild is known as PeerConnect. The 2 17-year-olds got here up with the concept a couple of days earlier than the competitors. To assist those that have had a tough time connecting with others in the course of the pandemic, they’ve created an app that pairs college students prepared to speak with peer counselors who’re prepared to pay attention.

Points with the app’s video calling characteristic stored Hershrag up all evening.

“It took all the best way as much as our presentation to determine what was going fallacious,” Alex mentioned. “It was a grueling expertise, but it surely labored ultimately.”

The couple mentioned that competing in a hackathon is intimidating. The environment is vigorous and vigorous, with dozens of excited college students inside a big room hunched over their computer systems, frantically typing away.

“You possibly can’t assist however assume, ‘How am I going to do something that beats something right here?'” Hershrag mentioned. ”

Hershrag recollects how he and Alex arrived with simply their laptops and chargers, whereas the workforce behind them introduced a house pc full, full with monitor and keyboard.

However they mentioned that is additionally a part of the enjoyable.

“I used to be stunned by the variety of individuals on the market, as a result of at my faculty there aren’t many people who find themselves interested by programming,” Alex mentioned. “That was sort of enlightening for me.”

Hershrag, Alex and their pal Ryan McCombs have been lately acknowledged by the Moorpark Unified Faculty District for the academic apps they developed for educators and college students, mentioned Jessica Hendricks Sandoval, counselor for the coding membership the 2 college students belong to.

“They’re completely superb college students,” she mentioned. “We at Moorpark Faculty Excessive Faculty are very pleased with the accomplishments of Hirsch and Alex, however much more pleased with their initiative and pursuit of their ardour for STEM.”

After 15 hours, PeerConnect is up and working.

The boys mentioned they have been honored to be positioned second, as a result of their all-time placement was a testomony to their onerous work.

After successful their prizes, college students have new aspirations for PeerConnect. They need to add instructing options to the app and increase its capabilities so it will probably join individuals with psychological well being professionals.

Hershraj began coding on Discord with a purpose to cease cyberbullying assaults from bots. The code he developed can detect and delete hate messages and punish offenders. Alex began similarly, making a bot on Discord that tracks COVID-19 stats.

As an alternative of utilizing their hacking abilities for nefarious functions, Hershrag and Alex hope to construct their startup to make on-line and offline communities a greater place. There isn’t a higher place to begin, college students mentioned, then on the Hackathon by the Sea.

“You can also make mates in a short time. We’re all sure collectively behind this curtain of creativity,” Hershrag mentioned. “That is what that is all about.”

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