MILLBURN, NJ - Millburn High School played host to its second STEM Hackathon of the year last weekend. Students from all over New Jersey with an interest in art, music, technology, and more gathered for a 29 hour-overnight event with workshops, and classes in an effort to strengthen their understanding of coding and programming.

MHS Students planned and ran the entire program, going off of their experience from HackMHS One in the Fall. However, HackMHS Two felt like a completely different event with sponsors, more students, and more time to teach.

The MHS “Organizers”, and MHS alumni taught the different workshops including Intro to Android, Web Design: HTML and CSS, Github: Social Coding, An Insider’s Guide to Programming Interviews, and to top it all off: Entrepreneurship.

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“In school we don’t have hands on experiences like this to create something. We read a book, we take notes, we get a test. If you are an engineer or a computer scientist, or anything like that, you have to use your experience to make something, which is what we give here” said Asena Yildiz, MHS Senior and HackMHS Two Organizer.

In many cases, the workshops inspired the students and their small teams to work on certain projects that they then created during HackMHS II.

Projects were assessed by judges based on originality and the difficulty of the piece.

Mentors were at each student’s beck and call if questions or problems arose with their projects. Mentors included upperclassmen from other high schools in New Jersey and college lowerclassmen.

However, HackMHS Two was not just an educational event. It also created a community of hackers.

“This is a place where the students can meet people with similar interests and together create something awesome” Yildiz said.

As a community, the cutting-edge creations made by students from websites, apps and interactive Virtual Reality, the tarnished reputation of “hackers” has been redefined.

“They are not hacking into computers causing viruses on the computers. To hack is actually to build” said Yildiz.