May 31, 2023

Students Show Off Computer Skills

First-place team from Great Mills High School: coach Nora Blasko, left, Venzah Hamilton, Zoe Coughlan, Maya Lee, and Emme Staats.

Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative held the 31st annual Southern Maryland High School Computer Bowl on March 7 at North Point High School in Waldorf.

The event helps students prepare for careers such as software development and cybersecurity. Computer skills are vital for students who plan to become proficient in technical and industrial fields. With information technology firmly embedded in daily life, electric utilities depend heavily on computerization to help keep the lights on for their customers.

This year’s Computer Bowl featured approximately 70 young computer enthusiasts in a test of their coding skills and technical knowledge. Sponsors for the annual competition are SMECO, the College of Southern Maryland, Booz Allen Hamilton, and the public school systems of Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties.

Nineteen teams from nine high schools in Southern Maryland faced the challenging literacy and programming tests in the Computer Bowl. In the first round of the competition, students took a written test of their knowledge of computer history, hardware, and software. In the second round, teams of three to four students created computer programs to solve specific problems, writing code in programming languages such as Java and Python.

An all-girl team from Great Mills High School in Great Mills won first place this year. Team members were Zoe Coughlan, Venzah Hamilton, Maya Lee, and Emme Staats, coached by Nora Blasko.

Huntingtown High School won second place; Tom Currier coached Ethan Hilton, Quintin Hilton, Evan Fee, and Grayden Hays.

North Point High School had a team take third place, with Melody Stahl coaching Ishaan Chada, Eric Fotang, Maxwell Stine, and Gabriel Alleyne.

In fourth place was another Great Mills High team, made up of Holland Henderson-Boyer, Leanna Eldridge, Daniel McLawhorn, and Ryan Rex.

Winners received plaques and trophies, and SMECO awarded gift cards to the top four teams. The College of Southern Maryland also provided the first-place winners with performance awards.

Booz Allen Hamilton provided 11 judges for the Computer Bowl: Rachel Aaron, Alan Cooper, Janet Cooper, Carrie Dalton, Amber Dull, Shannon Katulich, Stephen Katulich, Laurie Lawrence, Cailean Parker, Doug Sanborn, and Jennifer Sanborn.

Other judges were Tom Inscore and John Stine of Charles County Public Schools; Joe Burgin, Eugen Leontie, and Brian Warnecke of the College of Southern Maryland; and Steve Nixon of Small Satellite Alliance.

Lora Bennett and John Stine with Charles County Public Schools developed the literacy and programming tests used in the competition.

To learn more about SMECO, please visit its Leader member page.

Second-place team: Huntingtown High School, Calvert County. From left, Evan Fee, Quintin Hilton, coach Tom Currier, Ethan Hilton, and Grayden Hays.

Third-place team: North Point High School, Charles County. From left, Eric Fotang, coach Melody Stahl, Ishaan Chada, and Gabriel Alleyne. Not pictured is Maxwell Stine.

Fourth-place team: Great Mills High School, St. Mary’s County. From left, coach Nora Blasko, Leanna Eldridge, Holland Henderson-Boyer, Ryan Rex, and Daniel McLawhorn.

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