After a three-year hiatus, the Code Nation Bay Area Hackathon returned! It was such a joyous and empowering time as we gathered our community of students, software engineer volunteers, alumni, and company partners together to celebrate and hack the day away!
On Friday, March 3, our thriving community of over 90 students from across the Bay Area and nearly 50 volunteer tech professionals came together at the Google Community Space on The Embarcadero to build websites around the theme “Code Your Passion.” Collaborating with classmates, new friends, and tech coaches, 19 teams competed to brainstorm, develop, and execute plans to build a website that they created from scratch! We started with an hour for teams to brainstorm and plan, and then three hours to code and build their websites. Once students completed and submitted their websites, judges made their rounds and listened to each team present their project and explain its functionalities. Students had the incredible experience of working collaboratively through challenges to create something from the ground up, all within a single day!
The Hackathon has two competitions – one for first-year Intro students and one for advanced Fellowship students. In our Intro competition, The Fantastic Five – a team of 4 students from Balboa High School – won with their website, Musically.U. This website featured a quiz that would identify a musical instrument for you to learn based on your answers, and provide resources to learn that instrument depending on if you wanted to learn remotely or in person.
For our advanced Fellowship competition, Team 19 Shiba Inu – a team of 5 students from Balboa, Lowell, and Burton High Schools – won with their website, Save A Dog (S.A.D.). This featured an impressive dog adoption website with a list of dogs and their pictures, information about the dog, and instructions on how to find adoption centers. First-place winners in both the Intro and Fellowship competitions were awarded Oculus VR Headsets and Code Nation swag, while second and third place got Airpods and JBL Bluetooth speakers. Check out all of the projects here.
Intro Group Musically.U
Fellowship Group S.A.D.
From left to right: Peter Fishman, CEO of Mozart Data, Ahmed Ali Bob, Head of Social Impact at Block, and Ron Summers, CEO of Code Nation
One of the many reasons this day is so special is because it is a manifestation of the mission that Code Nation strives to achieve every day. In building accessible pathways into tech, it is critical that students gain comfort and familiarity in those spaces. One of our alum technical volunteers, Joshua García, who translated for finalist students who completed their presentations in Spanish, came up to us and shared, “This is one of the first times I saw that English doesn’t have to be a barrier to participate or to learn to code.” It was one of many reminders why we do what we do, and why this event is so important – we celebrate the work of widening equitable access and opportunity to an industry that has the potential to economically empower students who strive to gain financial independence and freedom.
We are extremely grateful to Google.org for hosting us in their Community Space and allowing our students to feel welcome in such a charming space. Additionally, a huge thank you to our sponsors at LaunchDarkly, Chime, Block, and Dropbox. These companies support our work for a more equitable tech industry by supporting Code Nation financially, encouraging their employees to join as technical and support volunteers, and sharing our programs widely. Thank you for your support, and all you do for our Bay Area Students!