LIVINGSTON, NJ — Shortly after teaching a series of free virtual coding classes to local youth during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Livingston High School (LHS) Coding Club expanded its scope and enlisted student groups to create games, informational programs and more to benefit members of the Livingston community.

During a special event held virtually last week that members dubbed “CodeFest,” members of the Coding Club spoke about the months they spent teaching each other programming languages like Python, Java and HTML and how their knowledge of these programs assisted with their charitable projects.

“We are dedicated to making a basic education in computer science freely accessible to Livingston students at every grade level,” said LHS junior and Coding Club co-vice president Anusha Bansal. “We have worked tirelessly over the past four months to expand upon the programming and entrepreneurial skills of our own club members through CodeFest.

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“In the future, we will continue to raise awareness for the importance of a computer science education—considering the increasing prevalence of tech—through community-wide programs such as our classes. As our community outreach expands, we hope to focus on bringing such an education to underrepresented minorities in STEM, such as female, non-binary and Black/Latinx students.”

In addition to showcasing their recent accomplishments to an audience of community members during CodeFest, the LHS students also shared the challenges that they encountered while creating the programs and explained how they would continue to improve the following programs.

BIRD DASH by Alexander Wang, Kishan Bava, Justinas Sanders and Jamie Heskett

Bird Dash is an arcade game in which the player navigates a bird through the Amazon Rainforest. In addition to being entertaining, the creators noted that this game raises awareness of the deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest. CLICK HERE to learn more. 

LHS Navigator by Heainz Manoj, Rahul Basak, Irene Chi, Advait Patil, Siddarth Venoothanpalle and Bridget Wu

LHS Navigator, an interactive navigator of the halls at LHS, helps students find their classes. The creators noted that remote learning can make it challenging to remember where their classrooms when they return to school in person and have five minutes to get from class to class. CLICK HERE to learn more.

COVID-19 HEAT MAP by Harsh Akunuri, Akil Sheik, Joseph Giresi and Alan Hu

This map of the United States displays the numbers of COVID-19 deaths, cases and daily increase/decrease for each state while also bringing awareness to the severity of COVID-19. CLICK HERE to learn more.

LHS BOT by Justin W.*, Guang-Lin Wei and Erica Wang

This program compliments Genesis and Zoom by notifying the user of upcoming appointments, deadlines and more. It also serves as an organizational tool that lists the user’s projects and events.

CLEANSLATE by Anish Shriram and Michael T.*

CleanSlate is a carbon footprint calculator that analyzes the user’s habits—from vehicle usage to eating and disposal habits—and utilizes the data to alert users about their personal impact on the environment. This program also teaches users about climate change. CLICK HERE to learn more. 

EXERBOT” Tyler Coney, Jacob Davis, Andrew Du and Rishabh Verma

Exerbot is an online website that provides easy access to exercise information and workout routines. Users are prompted to specify the parts of their body they want to exercise, and the site provides easy-to-understand regiments and routines based on their responses. CLICK HERE to learn more. 

OZONE LAYER WEBSITE by Advaith Pillai and Dennis Chen

This project tackles the problem of ozone layer holes, which are places where there are thin layers of ozone. The navigation bar lets you go to all of the pages and explore the subject. CLICK HERE to learn more. 

PSYCHOLOGICAL PRIVILEDGE APTITUDE TEST by Alicia Gupta, Alexa Prague, Justin Haime and Sam Danchak

This privilege calculator prompts users to answer 10 questions about their family background, such as income, race and other questions, and enables them to compare their score to others around the same age throughout the country. CLICK HERE to learn more. 

Also during CodeFest, the club welcomed professional game developer Steven Yoo, who offered advice to those interested in pursuing careers in programming. He noted that although the gaming industry “is high pressure,” those passionate about programming should continue to “do what [they] love.”

“I love games and am always thinking about how to improve them and make them more fun and engaging,” said Yoo, who explained to young participants that they should consider taking Scratch Coding courses beginning at ages 10-to-12 because it teaches the logic needed to propel them to the next level.

The LHS Coding Club is led by Aryan Bansal (President), Anusha Bansal (Co-Vice President), Nidhi Gosalia (Co-Vice President) and Franklin Yiu (Secretary). Kristi Malone, a computer science teacher at LHS, serves as club advisor.  

To view last week’s CodeFest in its entirety, CLICK HERE.

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