United Computations Club organizes virtual Gunn Hack-a-thon

Vandana Ravi, Reporter

Gunn Hacks 7.0, a 36-hour high school hackathon, was held virtually this semester from Feb. 12 to Feb. 14.

The event consisted of mentor talks, workshops and a main goal of constructing a project from scratch. Completed projects were eligible for a number of prizes, including $500 of Bugsee credits or an Adafruit gift certificate.

Hackathon head organizer senior Serena Li remarked that hackathons are an effective way to improve coding skills and a chance to collaboratively build a project from scratch. “Hackathons are for anyone who is interested in computer science,” she said. “They can be really fun, and you learn a lot from them.”

Computer science teacher Joshua Paley argued that the most important thing is to simply participate. “Show up,” he said. “That’s it. You don’t need to have lots of prior programming experience. The point of the hackathon is mostly to have fun, and to try to make things.”

Li echoed that prior experience is not a prerequisite. “We have workshops that are tailored for beginners, and the hackathon is definitely a lot about learning. So if you’re a beginner, that’s actually perfect.”

Paley emphasizes that the focus of the hackathon is on learning. “You’ll work with other people [and] try to
make new things,” he said. “If it works out, that’s awesome, and if it’s a colossal disaster, that’s awesome.”