School’s Out Hackathon Attracts ISA Students

Hundreds of students lined up outside Rackspace Global Headquarters as they patiently waited for this weekend’s School’s Out Hackathon (SoHacks) to begin. From far away it may have looked like a bunch of kids waiting in line for a rock concert, but upon closer inspection one would find T-shirts emblazoned with technology-related puns, and backpacks filled with laptops, tablets and charging cables galore. A majority of the students had sleeping bags as the event extends from June 13 through Saturday, June 14.

International School of the Americas students, Jackson Kohrs (left) and Wright Herndon (right) put their game faces on as they prepare to code their latest creation.

International School of the Americas students, Jackson Kohrs and Wright Herndon put their game faces on as they prepare to code their latest creation.

Rackspace is a well-established partner with North East ISD, so it was no surprise that many students in attendance were from the district. A couple of students, Joshua Singer of the International School of the Americas (ISA) and Canzhi Ye of Reagan High School, took part as organizers for the big event.

“Computers are pretty much my thing. They have CyberPatriot going on and I really want to check it out for the first time,” said Nathan Melville, an incoming junior at Churchill High School. CyberPatriot is a National Youth Cyber Education Program created to motivate students toward careers in cybersecurity and other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. “Our world today relies on the internet and technological hardware. Pretty much everyone here has a smartphone, so I think it is really important to get a hold and learn in depth what you have on you, and not just use it as it is.”

A hackathon (also known as a hack day, hackfest, or codefest) is an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, collaborate intensively on software projects. The word “hack,” may sound a little scary, but there is nothing illegal going on at SoHacks. It is a great opportunity for students to work with industry experts from around the country. The students have the leeway to create anything related to technology at SoHacks, as long as it is a brand new project.

The jobs these students will be competing for after they graduate didn’t even exist ten years ago. This is part of the motivation behind NEISD’s Transforming the Future initiative.  Goal two is geared towards dedicating adequate time, resources, and support staff in order to integrate up-to-date technology equitably. With this goal in mind, NEISD will be home to future innovators in the world of STEM.

For more information on SoHacks and its dedicated sponsors, visit www.sohacks.com.

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