Arkadelphia High School students, Declend McMurry, Grant Hughes, Ryan Sheets and Race Craft, earned seventh place at the University of Arkansas High School Programming Contest on March 12. Their team, “Badger Bunch”, was one of 46 teams competing in the contest.

Each team consisted of two to four students. After a briefing period and practice hour, the competition began at 10 a.m. and lasted until 1 p.m. All participating teams were given eight problems to complete in the three-hour window.

“Some of us worked on pseudocode, which is like writing out what the programs should do, while the rest of us worked on the actual code itself,” Sheets said. “They were really more like real world problems where they gave you examples on what kind of data would be entered by a user, what exactly you need to do with the data, and then how to output the data back to the user.”

The AHS participants are currently enrolled in the new AP Computer Science course this school year and plan on pursuing computer science fields in college. They utilized teamwork and communication skills as they gathered around one single computer to complete the problems.

“We are getting real world experience working in teams,” McMurry said. “In a job scenario, you have to work with groups of people to complete a task. In this, we all had one computer, so we had to work together to actually go from paper to computer.”

After the competition, AHS received a seventh place trophy, following closely behind Arkansas School of Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts, Fayetteville High School and Rogers New Tech High School.

“The students did a great job at the University of Arkansas Programming Contest,” AP Computer Science Instructor Clair Mays said. “I was made aware from other instructors the difficulty of the problems at the competition. When you consider this is Arkadelphia’s first year to offer programming, and also our first year to attend the competition, I believe the team and community have much to be proud of with their performance.”

The Arkansas Department of Education funded Arkadelphia High School’s participation in the competition through a $15,376.96 grant awarded last year. The grant stemmed from Governor Hutchinson’s computer science initiative and gave all AHS students the opportunity to enroll in AP Computer Science.

 Arkadelphia Public Schools serves more than 2,000 students in Clark County, Arkansas, ranging from 6-weeks-old through college- and career-readiness - and is home of the Arkadelphia Promise.

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