A hackathon (also known as a hack day, hackfest or codefest) is an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, collaborate intensively on software projects. - Wikipedia

This week is Computer Science Education Week and many schools and students are celebrating by doing tutorials and events inspired by the Code.org’s Hour of Code.

At Success Academy all our 7th, 8th, and 9th grade scholars have been taking a whole year of computer science led by Jeremy Joven at Harlem West, Greg Michnikov at Harlem Central, and Edward Mosley at Harlem Central, and Saber Khan at High School. To celebrate the progress we had our first hackathon at the high school this past Saturday, December 6. Fifty of our scholars spent an entire school day working on computer science projects on a Saturday and still asked to say longer or that we contine working the next day!

The scholars has three tracks they could work on for their day -

  1. Coding with JavaScript led by Greg M

  2. Game Development with Scratch led by Jeremy J

  3. Android App Inventor led by Edward M

The winners for our first Hackathon are:

JavaScript winners:

1st Place: Kailani S (East) won a course on CodeHS.com

2nd Place: Deena L (Central) won a CS course on CodeHS.com

App Development:

1st Place: Prestina SL and Dymond S (Central) won an Android phone

2nd Place: Arionne O and Kendric T (East) won an Android phone  

Game Development:

1st: Shane A (HSLA) won a gift certificate to Adafruit.com

2nd: Camilla JM (East) won a gift certificate to Adafruit.com

Here is some of the feedback we got about the Hackathon from scholars:

Kailani S - Harlem East - The thing I like best about computer science and coding is that there are so many things that you can make with coding, and even though it's complicated, the ending result will be worth it.

Deena L - Harlem Central - I visited javascript. At first, it was very difficult to take in so much information at once but I catched on. I developed a game built on java script. I hope people have fun with my game.

Shane Alston- High School - When I see a programer I see a man or woman working in an office getting lots of money by making most of our everyday technology.

Camila JM - East-  I decided to come back to hack-a-thon because it gives me a chance to make new friends and learn about computer science to expand my knowledge on the subject. Also, it gives me a chance to test my computer skills against other people, some of which are older than me and have more experience. Finally, it gives me a chance to do one of my favoriet things, which is to work on computers.

Isaiah G - Harlem West - I have made a lot of new friends today, and have had physical contact with most of my old friends as well. For example, I was able to talk to a boy named John, who is in the 7th grade, and goes to harlem east. This person was originally former friends with a girl Ka-Nefer, who was another 7th grader, but went to harlem 4.

Reanna P - Harlem East - My favorite thing about computer science is making something for everyone to see. I like to show off my work to others to show how proud I am of it.


Developed the CellScope, a portable digital microscope invented at the Fletcher Lab, UC Berkeley, as a classroom tool in my classroom at the San Francisco Friends School. In collaboration with the lab the students worked on making the device easier to use, created tutorials, and created a Micro/Marco map of San Francisco. This project was a finalist for Public Library of Science’s (PLOS) Accelerating Science Award Program (ASAP). http://asap.plos.org/finalists/smartphone-becomes-microscope/ 



Studied and reported on the progress of BRAC’s digital lesson plan program in rural Bangladesh. And worked with special education specialist at San Francisco State University (SFSU) I helped develop ongoing assessments to assist local teachers to evaluate reading proficiency goo.gl/bmVA43

primary schools.jpg

Interned with UCSF’s 2009 International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition team at MIT. Developed curriculum to study synthetic biology in the middle-school classroom using LEGOs goo.gl/xazwwn

UCSF iGEM Program: Team Based Science Education from the Classroom to the Laboratory - Veronica Zepeda, David Pincus, and Saber Khan - Presented at the International Teacher - Scientist Partnership Conference - February 13, 2013 download link


Developed a biotech training program for under-served high-school students in the Bay Area. Working with bioenergy researchers and another teacher we created a set of experiences to prepare them for college-level biology research as a part of Introductory College Level Experience in Microbiology (iCLEM). Over the past five years alumni have has a college acceptance rate of 95 percentage. Here is an update on the program - goo.gl/iWVTc2 and goo.gl/aSuPvd.