Friday, June 11, 2010

Message from Brian Stempin, Philadelphia HSCC Coordinator

BDPA Philadelphia chapter has won every award at the national level except one ... they have yet to win the National BDPA High School Computer Competition (HSCC) championships. The chapter would love to end that drought next month at the 2010 HSCC championships in being held in Philadelphia as part of the 32nd annual BDPA Technology Conference.

One man who shares this dream is Brian Stempin (shown in the above photo with his 2009 HSCC team). He shares his thoughts in the following message:

I’ve never written a post about it, but if you read the “About Me” section, you’ll see that I teach a few different technologies to high school students (I know: who’d trust me with kids?! :p). I wanted to write about two things: Our recent trip to our regional competition at Bowie State University and our search for volunteers.

First thing’s first: Regionals - On Saturday, I took 3 kids from my class down to Bowie State to compete in the regional HSCC competition. For those of you who don’t know anything about our competition, here’s a rundown:

There’s 3 sections
  1. Written - For this section, the students are put in a room with a 200 question multiple choice test. They have 15 minutes to get as many correct answer as possible. The questions range in topic from general computer knowledge to BDPA history to programming specifics. Each student completes their own test.
  2. Oral - In this section, each team competes as a unit. They are put into a room with other students and play a Jeopardy (for lack of a better analogy) styled game. They must, as a team, answer one question in each of 5 different categories. There are some special rules about stealing questions, etc.
  3. Programming - This is the big enchilada. The students will be handed a spec that details an on-line application. They are free to program it in whichever platform they please (JSP, ASP.NET, classic ASP, or PHP). The web application always needs access to a MySQL database. Along with knowing how to program the front end, back end, and database, they must also be able to start and stop their own services. They are given one computer (with no internet connection), some paper, and 6 or 7 hours to complete the problem.
This year, we have an all-rookie team. To date, they’ve only received training for the Programming section of the competition. Fortunately for me, these kids are resilient and motivated. Despite their rookie-like score, they are more dedicated than ever to conquer this challenge. For those of you who are interested, we’ll be competing at the National BDPA Conference at the end of July.

My call for volunteers:
I was fortunate this year. I had a class full of rookies and a few dedicated BDPA members (Byron Mayes and Norman Williams) who were there to help students complete their assignments. This year, I won’t be so lucky. I still have great volunteers, but I’ll have a different challenge: multiple classes. I’ll have incoming rookies that will need a rookie instructor and returning kids that need a more advanced curriculum. As we take on more kids, we also need help doing administrative duties, such as organizing end-of-the-year events, sending home report cards, and keeping in touch with parents.

I’m asking for help.

If you like working with high school kids, teaching, and technology, then you might be able to help out. I’ve posted a couple of volunteer listings on If you think you might be interested, follow the link and see if it sounds right for you. If so, follow the instructions for applying. Even if it doesn’t sound like its for you but you still want to help in some way, please contact me. We can use all of the help we can get.

Either way, wish us luck at nationals!

Shared by Brian Stempin, HSCC Coordinator
BDPA Philadelphia Chapter

I didn't realize until today that Brian has his own blog. I do hope that our readers will reach out to Brian in support of his request for volunteers. Frankly, even if you can't volunteer ... reach out to him anyhow to share some BDPA-Love for this young man who is so dedicated to helping these young 'uns develop skills that make them relevant for the 21st century!

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