On August 7th, 2009, 3 freshman and 2 sophomore students from Charlotte, NC faced a field of programmers. They made up the youngest team of African American students that competed in this years Annual BDPA High School Computer Competition. Regardless of age they had intentions of winning and they represented Charlotte very well, placing in the top 10 teams nation wide.
They had committed the last 8 months worth of Saturdays to training and learning. Some did not now the very basics of web development when they started. On that day they were tasked with building a professional website using only the most basic of tools, but they had their wits about them.
They were asked to build a venture capitalist site, where companies could track monetary request and ROI on the request. And they were asked to build it in 7 hours.
Today, I can say that I am especially proud of these five Charlotte youths. Their accomplishment was no mean feat considering that the field of competition was selected from over 1,000 students and many other teams featured senior high school students.
Every year the BDPA, Black Data Processing Association, holds the national HSCC program in a different city. Every year between 20 and 30 teams come from all over the United States to compete. And every year the local Charlotte BDPA chapter has opened its class to any rising high school student who is willing to listen and learn about technology. From these young students, 5 are selected to compete in the regional or national competition. This years national competition was held in Raleigh North Carolina.
This year the national competition gave out the assignment to the students. It required that they build a venture capital website. On this site a company could request funds and track the requests. In addition to this users of the site could calculate a ROI on the investment. They were allowed no tools other than Notepad and Textpad and their own creative skills.
They were asked to build the site in 7 hours. This is a testament to their talent as I know some professionals who would be hard pressed to provide results in this amount of time.
For those of you who do not know, each year we, the local BDPA chapter, operate a learning class where we teach rising high school students how to build .NET web pages. We have students of all levels walk into our classroom, some having little to no computer experience, some having programmed for years. Regardless of their level of expertise, it is the programs responsibility to see that they walk out having learned a little more about technology.
The BDPA's mantra is "From the Classroom to the Boardroom", the Charlotte chapter strives to provide exactly this.
In previous years multiple HSCC students have gone on to internships within software development groups in the local area WHILE THEY WERE IN HIGH SCHOOL. Winners of the national competition will recieve scholarships to schools of thier choice. And this year BDPA and affiliates provided a full 4 year paid scholarship for an HSCC students from Columbia, SC. We follow through with these students progress as thier professional careers develop.
If you have a student that is interested in the program, we encourage them to come to our classes. They being the weekend after the Superbowl. The sessions are not expensive. Find out more by visiting, http://www.bdpa-charlotte.org
If you are interested in helping this program, in any way, please reach out to me. Someone reached out to you when you were younger, you should be returning the favor. It makes you feel good!