Computer science students compete in coding challenge

Angelina Vitarelli, Writer

Recently, students in the AP Computer Science class, taught by Holly Corbett, began participating in the Girls Go CyberStart challenge. This challenge is exclusively online, and each participant has to pass five coding challenges, each with a different level of difficulty. Two students in Corbett’s class passed the first stage: seniors Ally Hajec and Claire Grob.

“Computer science was something that looked really complicated at first, but really wasn’t hard at all,” Grob said. “I like the feeling of accomplishment I get when I do this.”

Grob has decided to pursue computer science after high school.

I am majoring in computer science,” Grob said. “It makes a lot of money, there’s a high demand for it and it’s not too hard. I find it interesting.”

Students in Corbett’s Computer Programming, Computer Principles, and AP Computer Science classes are participating in this challenge. 

“All my students had the opportunity to participate, but to move forward, they had to complete a certain portion of the first competition,” Corbett said. “The Girls Go CyberStart organization provides me with access codes, so that all my students, guys and girls, can challenge themselves. Even if they’re not part of the competition, they can still participate and do the activities.”

The challenge itself has five cybersecurity puzzles in the first phase. Beyond the first phase, students have to qualify for the next phase to continue on in the challenge. The first phase is a more independent challenge and the second phase is equipped with specific directions. 

“It really relies on the student’s initiative and willingness to search, because there’s not a lot of instructions,” Corbett said. “They have to go in, dig, see what they can find and see what clues they can pick up on.”

The students participating in this challenge have to be able to think on their own and use independence to their advantage. The female students continuing in the challenge are learning this as they go. 

By taking part in Computer programming in my junior year and AP Computer Science in my senior year, I’ve learned a lot of perseverance and patience,” Hajec said. “One of the things that Computer Science has taught me is to never give up, there is always more than one way to solve a problem.”

Corbett has recognized the need for a female presence in computer science in mainstream society. 

“Girls Go CyberStart is a movement to encourage females to be interested in cybersecurity,” Corbett said. “Computer science in general is lacking female representation.”

Corbett’s classes will be continuing these puzzles as time allows in class or at home, and should complete the challenge soon.