DENVILLE, NJ-- For the students in the Academy for Computer and Information Sciences at Morris County School of Technology, Saturday was spent with peers from all over the state at the first annual Local Hack Day.
A hack day is a day for people to learn and put their knowledge and creativity to the test. For some groups, smartphones and tablets apps were being built, others spent their time building websites with code and software.
Local Hack Day provides students with a chance to put their computer science knowledge toward an actual working project. Teams were built in groups of four and each person was responsible for an aspect of the project. With a 12 hour hackathon, the teams were striving to build a working piece of computer science to present to the judges.
The co-founders of the event, Aashka Patel and Yashwee Kothari, are both sophomores in the Computer and Information Sciences Academy. The girls approached their teacher about bringing the hack a thon to Morris County School of Technology. Both girls are not strangers to hackathons, having won some pretty awesome prizes.
"I won 4th place in my first hackathon," said Kothari "But my first hackathon was quite scary. I didn't know anyone but at hackathon's, you can meet friends too."
Dialogic, the sponsor for the MCST Hack Day event, brought in some prizes to give to the best project winners. From Fit Bits to Amazon Gift Cards, the kids were inspired by not only their mind, but by prizes. While the kids spent time in groups, there were also seminars going on.
Academy teacher Steven Hendricks watched over his group of students proudly. Hendricks told TAP that while the students had creative freedom of what projects to pick, he noted that just picking out an idea for a project alone can take months.
"Picking out the project idea is the hardest part. My seniors are doing capstone's right now, and getting the right idea and a process going can become the hardest piece of any project," Hendricks said.
The Morris County School of Technology will also be bringing in some special guests throughout the year to teach the Computer and Information Sciences practical knowledge. With presentations by the New Jersey State Police and Homeland Security, the students will learn knowledge and be able to ask questions to people who are already in the field.