Students partake in first hackathon


Emily Wesel ’19 and her group members present their completed project at the HW Hackathon in front of other groups and mentors in the library at the upper school. Credit: Danielle Spitz

Claire Keller

Computer science students worked for 36 hours at Hack H-W Jan. 16-17, learning about technological entrepreneurship while competing in the school’s first hackathon.

Shelley Jain ’16 and Justin Rose ’17 brought the hackathon to the upper school, allowing 50 students to work with 10 mentors from technology companies and the California Institute of Technology.

Students formed teams of up to four hackers and spent the night pursuing whatever hardware or software programs they wanted. Mentors watched over students as they designed and created video games, programmed gadgets and learned new computer science languages.

The weekend concluded with an awards ceremony, with 3D printers going to the first-place team Smart Buzz, consisting of Paula Lahera ’16, Tony Ma ’17 and Johnny Berman ’17.

Members of the team Class were given Pebble Time Smartwatches as the second place prizes. And in third place, Gravity received quad-copters.

“After attending Pennapps, the largest student-run hackathon in the country, organized by students at UPenn, I realized how valuable and enlightening an experience this opportunity could be for Harvard-Westlake students,” Jain said. “My goal was to show them that in 36 hours they could build something cool.”