By Mikah Covelli
Oyster Bay High School held its annual club fair on September 28th, 2017, and a wealth of engaging afterschool activities were introduced to students. Included among them is the unique Coding Club.
Supervised by OBHS’s Computer Science teacher, Ms. Malhar-Jain, Coding Club has been up and running since the 2016-2017 school year. This STEM-centered extracurricular seeks to inform the student body that coding is indeed fun (and is not as intimidating as it appears to be).
Coding Club is currently composed of 8-9 students, a great increase from its initial three members. Any new arrivals to Coding Club need not worry about their lack of knowledge; students possessing advanced computer science expertise can teach their rookie counterparts crucial programming skills.
Club President Jason Hom explains, “My advice is to not be intimidated by the complexity of [coding]. I was very confused when I first started, but now I get it, so I feel like other people shouldn’t be afraid to try it.”
Coding Club was born last year when a small trio of students (all enrolled in an AP Computer Science A class) sought ways to hone their coding skills outside traditional classroom learning. As a result, they entered American Computer Science League competitions (ACSL for short) with the help of Ms. Malhar-Jain, fostering their passion for coding even further.
ACSL competitions involve the completion of a short answer test and the solving of a programming problem within a set time period. Students who participate in these competitions belong to one of five ACSL divisions, each of which are geared towards students with varying coding/programming experience. Teams that rank highly in their respective divisions are invited to play at the ACSL All-Star Contest, and can receive prizes if they attain top scores.
Participating in such challenging, rewarding ACSL competitions over the 2016-2017 school year encouraged veteran club members Julia Sherbal, Jason Hom, and Sahill Yadav to greatly expand the range of activities that Coding Club members could participate in. This year, members will not only learn to code and participate in ACSL contests, but they will also host fundraisers to hold hackathons, which are events during which different groups of students attempt to quickly solve a certain coding problem. The different coders’ solutions are then examined by judges, and winners of the hackathon can receive prizes.
The continuous integration of new technology (e.g. the latest iPhone, iPad, and smartphone device) into public life necessitates knowledge of code.
Club President Jason Hom states, “People who learn how to code will be able to understand how certain applications on their devices work,” enabling them to utilize their technology to its greatest potential.
This knowledge of coding can also spark an individual’s interest in creating their own applications in the future, not only providing them with a skill that is extremely useful in the modern world, but providing an endless fascination for coding as well.