And the winners are…
July 29, 2015

Last weekend was the first annual “Great Arizona Code Challenge,” a statewide coding competition for kids and teens. Well over 100 kids showed up with computers and keen brains. They came, they saw, and they coded. And they proved that the future is bright – not only are they technically skilled and incredibly creative, but they word hard, learn on the fly, treat others with respect, and they want to change the world.

Roughly 40 high-schoolers arrived Friday morning, ready for the long haul. They formed teams of 1-3 and got to work building apps, many to support the work of AZ Brainfood and other organizations fighting child hunger in the state. These teams worked all day Friday, through the night (about a third of them never slept!), and presented their finished projects to the expert judges on Saturday afternoon.


This photo shows one of the two rooms of junior coders (there were over 60 from grades 3-8). These impressive youngsters arrived Saturday morning, formed teams and worked seven solid hours on video games, animations and apps. Most of them worked in the Scratch platform, with some using Javascript or other tools. Some of them opted to work on childhood literacy projects to support the AZ Library Association, a partner organization on the event.


After the judging, the competitors gathered with parents, family and community members (around 350 people) for the closing ceremony, featuring a keynote address from the original coder behind Infusionsoft, Eric Martineau.  It was a great event and we all walked away enthusiastic about computer programming (coding is awesome!)


After the talking, the winners of the competition were recognized and received awards like drones, raspberry pi kits, makey makey, gift certificates, and even a college scholarship!

Congratulations to all the prize winners from the competition, listed below along with links to their award-winning creations. It’s worth taking a minute to check them out! Really impressive work.

Of course any system that awards winners fails to recognize the hard work and sheer genius demonstrated by the other competitors. It was truly an amazing group of young coders, and even though they didn’t all win prizes, everyone was able to learn, meet new people, and come away a stronger programmer.

Best Beginner – Piper McKeever (grade 6) made an animation discouraging meanness and bullying.

Best Technical Prowess – Brothers Cole and Jude Brauer created a “Project Notebook” that helps designers and creators track versions of their project. Not only did they build a functioning web app, but they also made an Android version for smartphones (download to your Android device if you want to use it).

Most Inspirational – Zane Huston came to the Code Challenge knowing that he would miss eight hours on Friday evening for his shift at work. Not wanting to let down his teammates, he opted to work alone. After missing that valuable time (and dinner!), he knocked on the locked door at 1:30 am and came back to his computer to continue working on his project, an inventory tracking app for AZ Brainfood.

Grades 3-5

Grades 6-8

Grades 9-12

  • First Place – Ari Solokov and Laura Lu created an iphone app for AZ Brainfood with all kinds of functions, from education about brain-friendly nutrition to processing donations. Take a look at a few screenshots of the app here:

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  • Second Place – Adi Sidapara, Nathan Flurry and Miguel Opena built an iphone app that helps food banks track and manage inventory levels. Here are some shots of their app:

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  • Third Place – Brophy classmates Gray Olson, Hector Parra, and Quinten Wass worked together on an inventory-tracking web application for AZ Brainfood. There’s a screenshot below, and you can see the working version here



Congratulations to all the coders who participated over the weekend, and best wishes to all of them as they hone the skills that will change the world. Keep it up!

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