Friday, September 4, 2009

HSCC Testimonial: Alan Rosales (New York)

I have followed the journey of BDPA New York chapter for a number of years. The current chapter president, Judaea Lane, is a passionate leader who has given everything to support the progress of the Student Information Technology Education & Scholarship (SITES) program in New York. The chapter funds that ordinarily would have taken her to the annual conference in Raleigh NC were diverted to ensure that New York chapter students could participate in the IT Showcase.

One of the students that is helping to uplift the NY chapter SITES program is Alan Rosales. Alan and his teammates earned Jesse Bemley Scholarships from the BDPA Education & Technology Foundation (BETF). Here are his thoughts about the national competition held in Raleigh NC.

The national conference was great, especially the high school computer competition [HSCC]. The New York Chapter team consisting of Frantzy Jean Philippe, Cazmeba Richards, Kevin Castillo and myself, Alan Rosales, first arrived at Raleigh, North Carolina early in the morning. We stayed at the hotel all day brushing up on our programming skills and quiz factory scores.

The next day we woke up early in the morning for the first two parts of the competition. We had to do the oral part [where we answer 5 questions as a team] and the written part [where we individually answer as many questions as we can correct in 15 minutes]. But, there was a complication that day. Since last year it was announced that it was going to be the last year that we were going to use the quiz factory software and the operating system Windows XP, we were provided with a new software, Adit Software and our computers were upgraded to Windows Vista.
When we arrived at the orals, we found out that there were some problems with the setup, so instead of starting at 8:00AM we were told to go back to the hotel and come back until 2:00PM. We were able to complete the oral portion, but then another issue came up for the written and it was delayed again. We had to come back and ended up starting around 7:00PM. We did find out that the National team had to switch to using XP due to hardware problems, focusing the whole competition on Friday, the programming part.

The next day it wasn't a surprise that we weren't going to start early as planned. We started around 10:00AM instead of at 8:00AM and only 7hrs were given to us instead of 8hrs, since we had to present our application to the judges when were done, so the pressure was on. That day it was very chaotic because time was of the essence and we had to finish the problem in order to rank high. We used PHP, MYSQL, HTML, JavaScript and CSS to complete the problem and as lead programmer it was my job to code and use the programming languages to complete the task.

This year's conference brought up many challenges living up to the 2009 national conference theme, "Challenges For Today, Strategies For Tomorrow". The winners were announced on Saturday evening during the banquet [the judges consider placing 1st through 5th] and the New York team came in 5th place. We weren't very happy with the outcome but we were satisfied. I had loads of help from my team members and without them we probably wouldn't have placed.

So for next year, being that it will be our last year in the HSCC team, we are working hard towards winning 1st place. I hope that every HSCC team is ready for next year because New York will definitely be ready; I can't wait to see everyone at Philadelphia for the 2010 national conference and if this year's conference was great, I can't even imagine how next year's conference will be.

BETF will make a decision shortly on the amount to allocate for 2010 Bemley Scholarships. It appears we will need to cut back on those scholarships next year unless we get some support from donors over the coming weeks. Please consider making an online donation to the Bemley Scholarship fund today in support of Alan and the other students who are working so hard around the nation.

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