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Community partners sought for regional teen hackathon

stabSt. Anne’s-Belfield School is seeking community partners for its January teen hackathon. SPARK will be a two-day event featuring a “learnathon” on January 30 and hackathon on January 31. Mentors to work with participants, and sponsors to bring real-world problems for students to explore, will both be key to SPARK’s success.

“Many people associate the word ‘hacking’ with digital breaking and entering,” says Kim Wilkens, co-coordinator of computer science at St. Anne’s-Belfield School. “In computer science education, ‘hacking’ is taking something that already exists and learning how it works in order to create something new.”

During the SPARK learnathon, workshops and interactive presentations will be offered to help teens learn to create tech. Mentors are needed to guide the participants through their creations. During the hackathon, students will work in groups to concentrate on a project or problem, with some real-world examples sponsored by local organizations.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for community members and organizations to work with teens from around the region,” noted Wilkens. “We are hoping to be able to connect students with our thriving Charlottesville area tech community, and believe all involved will benefit from these interactions.”

Current sponsors include QIM, Mozilla, University of Virginia Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Willowtree. Supporters include Tech-Girls and Charlottesville Business Innovation Council.

To find out more about SPARK, visit spark.stab.org or contact spark@stab.org with questions or to volunteer.

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