HackWHS: A mental sport

Anna Masciandaro, Web Editor

You’ve heard of Major League Baseball, but have you ever heard of Major League Hacking?
For many of you, the answer to that question is no. Major League Hacking is a company that runs a student hackathon league, and one of its most recent events was held at WHS last Saturday.

HackWHS, as it was called, was organized and run by WHS students and faculty advisers: senior Sa’id Kharboutli, junior Zack Lemberg, junior Ethan Jaffee and Math Teachers Mr. Louis De Angelo and Ms. Jessica Norworth.
Sponsors included Balsamiq, JetBrains, Major League Hacking, Hodara Real Estate group (run by Alex Hodara, a 2006 WHS alum) and Visionary Music Group, the record company for Jon Bellion and the famous rapper Logic.
Hackathons come in different shapes and sizes. Most are free, complete with perks such as meals, T-shirts and stickers. They can vary in attendance from 45 participants, at the WHS event, to more than 1,000, and can range in length from 12 to 36 hours. Some encourage hackers to solve real-world problems related to environmental stability and fake news, while HackWHS had two categories: Students could program an app or game, or they could create an augmented-reality Snapchat lens.
WHS junior Julia Hollosi, one of the HackWHS winners, said many are intimidated by the prospect of attending a hackathon because they feel they lack the skill set to compete. But in reality, each coder has a different skill set: Some might not know any computer languages, while others might be fluent in three or four programming languages.
De Angelo said the event is “awesome to watch” because “it goes beyond what we do in school and computer science labs and it’s  so cool to see how independent and self-motivated the group is. At the very least we’re hoping to have one next year.”
Added Hollosi: “It’s definitely more than a one-and-done sort of thing. I thought the overall experience was awesome. I had a lot of fun and it motivated me to attend other hackathons.”