On Saturday, December 12, Havergal hosted the first HackerGal Hackathon for Middle School students. Coinciding with the Hour of Code, a movement intended to foster an interest in computer science with more than 100 million participants worldwide, the HackerGal Hackathon was a day-long event designed to introduce students to the world of coding through game design and collaborative problem solving using the GameSalad platform.

“Programming is going to become an essential skill in the next few years and it’s important that students learn more about it,” says Kyle Cardinale, Havergal Mathematics and Technological Education Teacher. “We hope that this event provided some exposure to our students to help them gain hands on experience learning how to code.”

In January, prizes will be awarded to the top three games as decided by a panel of judges, including Ray Sharma, founder and Executive Managing Partner of Extreme Venture Partners, Patti Mikula, CEO of Hackworks Inc., and Senior School students.

Events such as these that are held by the industry or at university level have seen students develop innovative and practical applications or software. Developing an appreciation of code at an early age is important for students so they can view computer programming as a viable career path. To achieve this, Havergal believes in the value of bringing this type of event to students in Grades 7 and 8.

Event sponsor Extreme Venture Partners agrees. “We are excited to have been involved in this event,” adds Ray Sharma, founder and Executive Managing Partner. “It’s extremely important that students are exposed to opportunities in technology. This will increase the chances that they will engage and become empowered leaders in this traditionally male-dominated industry.”

The 12-hour event was intended for all skill levels: students only need to bring their imagination and creativity as the required training, technology and software will be provided. The students had a great time.