Pictured: Kalea Gin, Sofia Ieraci and Matthew Omidghaemi of Westlake High School — aka Team Turtle — were the overall winners of the 2019 Hackathon by the Sea. Photo courtesy of  the Ventura County Office of Education

by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer

The third annual Hackathon by the Sea took place Dec. 6-7 at the Ventura County Office of Education’s Conference and Educational Services Center in Camarillo. The overnight coding event, open to all Ventura County high school students in grades 9 through 12, brought in 157 participants from across the county. Students worked in teams to design and code applications and games with the assistance of 50 volunteer mentors. Projects ran the gamut, from helping immigrants assimilate to saving marine life to combatting heart disease. While all teams displayed extraordinary creativity and technological acumen, a few were recognized by the judges.

Allison Tang, Ishya Cherukupalli and Shyla Yadav of Oak Park High School (flanked by mentors Marcus Bernales and Kirill Satanovsky) won for Best Demo.

The overall winner was Turtle Trouble, a survival game developed by Kalea Gin, Sofia Ieraci and Matthew Omidghaemi (all of Westlake High School) to raise awareness about marine pollution. Best Demo went to immigrant-assimilation app Social Vista, created by Allison Tang, Ishya Cherukupalli and Shyla Yadav of Oak Park High School. Modified Pacemaker by Melvin Soriano (El Camino High School) was judged Most Creative, while Gabriel Bacon and Paul Kim of Ventura High School took home the Most Technical prize. Their Snitch-Master 3000 was designed to help teachers take more accurate attendance. A special Humanity Award went to the R.O.M.A. application, which will enable a user “to seek personalized company that won’t judge them.” This interscholastic team was made up of September Goldberg and Jennifer Lopez (Pacifica High School), Kayden Jackson (Adolfo Camarillo High School) and Sophia Mai Nugwynne (Thousand Oaks High School).

Hackathon by the Sea was launched by the Ventura County Office of Education to inspire the next generation of technologists. Hackathon by the Sea – Girls Edition will take place in Spring 2020. For more information, visit www.vcoe.org/hackathon.