On Friday, November 30, Nardin Academy kicked off the Second Annual Hack-a-thon with 43 students from both the middle school and high school participating in an invention marathon that encourages young people to explore, design and create.
Inspired by corporations who host such events to spark creativity, this event will run from 8am - 8pm. Teams of two - six Nardin students collaborate intensely to develop a product and learn new technologies under the guidance of mentors from Amazon, Google, the Buffalo Bills, Northrup Grumman, the University at Buffalo and more.
"When I was your age and in school up in Toronto, we never had anything like this, so you are way ahead of the game," said Dr. Irfan Khan, practicing cardiologist and Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Circuit Clinical, as he gave the opening inspirational keynote address.
Throughout the day, students will allow their intrinsic interests to drive their education as they build a project from start to finish. As students tackle problems, the hands-on experience in the world of coding and engineering helps them become creators, not just consumers of technology.
This event also provides authentic and invaluable real world experience, showcasing Nardin's commitment to project-based learning at all grade levels.
Dr. Khan described, "one of the reasons my wife and I picked Nardin for our own daughter's education is because they don't just think that girls should be involved in math and science, but they think that girls should lead in math and science. I truly believe that too...but that doesn't mean that boys shouldn't lead in math and science, what it means is there is room at the table for everybody."
The event was made possible by Richard Wagner, Vice President at Schafer Cullen Capital Management, who underwrote the cost of the event's operations. Wagner was inspired to donate to the event by his daughter, who at only 8 years old aspires to work at NASA. Additional event sponsors include 43 North, the UB Department of Computer Science and Engineering, SynchroNet, Mod-Pac, CampusLabs, Wegmans and Gaunches Unite.
The Hack-a-thon will conclude with a science-fair style exposition of each "Hack" assessed by several judges on the following criteria: technical, creativity, design, and pitch. The middle school top prize is an Apple AirPod and a solar-powered portable charger for each student, while the high school top prize is a check for $1000 to be split equally among team members.
Thank you to our outstanding Nardin Academy faculty and staff for making this event possible - we cannot wait to see what our students create!