Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

'Hackathon' May Hatch Next Big Thing

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

'Hackathon' May Hatch Next Big Thing

Article excerpt

Coders gathered at River Dell Regional High School to create technological innovations from fun to serious.

Their projects may be the next big sensation on our phones.

The Second Annual Hack River Dell doubled attendance this year to 200 students, representing 63 high schools across the Northeast. The "hackathon," which began Saturday morning, is a coding event in which teams "hack" together toward a common achievement, according to the organizers.

"Hack River Dell is an overnight invention competition, where students form teams and work all night on an amazing invention like a game, website or app, with a chance to win some cool prizes," River Dell senior Greg Sarafian, one of the free event's founders, told NorthJersey.com.

"Hackathons, and Hack River Dell in particular, advocate teamwork, grit, and the merits of pursuing a career in technology," the 17-year-old said. "We're really amazed by the projects that we are seeing when just given the tools to [form] their ideas."

Sarafian specifically gleamed about more girls competing this year.

"Women are under-represented in the technology industry," he said. "Hopefully, we can help inspire them."

Northern Valley Regional High School's Society of Women Engineers worked at one table. Its nine members formed two teams – one developing an app to find lost classmates on a field trip, another creating a website that plays music based on the user's mood.

Club adviser Nicole Hodgson dropped by to check their progress. The students come up with their own ideas, including ones for Hack River Dell, she said.

Across the way, four River Dell girls worked on an app that offers fashion recommendations, as well as links where you can price or buy a pictured outfit.

"I have a little experience in coding, but this is my first hackathon. It's fun," Patrick Meagher, 14, of River Edge said. "We're trying to make a website for file downloads that is easier for everybody in our schools."

There's no login. "All you have to do is click and play," his teammate Yasha Sheteynman, 14, said.

Nikolas Chernyshev also worked on the project.

Hack River Dell is recognized by Major League Hacking, which supports 65,000 student hackers and 200-plus events nationwide. …

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