Friday, March 31, 2017

Malik Saafir * 2016 Bemley Scholar (Morehouse College)

Malik Saafir
BDPA Atlanta students earned 1st place in National BDPA High School Computer Competition (HSCC) championship held in August 2016. The HSCC competition comprises three components: oral testing, written testing and a programming project. Malik Saafir was a member of that team. He earned a Dr. Jesse Bemley Scholarship which he used at Morehouse College.

Malik is a seventeen-year-old senior at Georgia Cyber Academy. Outside of school, he is a member of the 100 Scholars Robotics Alliance (100SRA). He works with BDPA and 100SRA to lead teams that compete with other high schoolers from around the state and the country. Malik has been with the 100SRA since since his sophomore year and currently serves as the captain of two FIRST Robotics teams under its umbrella. Malik has been accepted to Morehouse College with a full ride for the fall of 2017, and plans to double major in chemical engineering and computer science. Also, he was recently named valedictorian of his high school's graduating class of 2017.

We asked Malik to provide his thoughts on BDPA and his experiences in the HSCC event:
"The most influential experience I have had so far with the BDPA was the High School Computer Competition season of 2016. The regional and national levels of the High School Computer Competitions (HSCC) took place in June and August of 2016. The HSCC is a web development competition hosted by the Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA), and it involves teams of students from around the country. Of the seven students on the Atlanta team, only two were champions from the prior season. The rest of us were rookies to the program. Consequently, we had a ton of studying to do over the four months from March until the regional competition in June.

Malik Saafir (2nd-Left) and his Teammates
My team and I needed to internalize web development, computer theory, and history, all while working on our presentation and public speaking skills, so we met every Saturday for approximately four hours. We studied the various programming languages and theories that we would apply, including PHP (PHP Hypertext Preprocessor), HTML (HyperText Markup Language), and SQL (Structured Query Language). With the help and guidance of several dedicated mentors and instructors, we learned everything we needed to know and more.

By June our team was ready for its first competition of the season, the regionals in Raleigh, NC This competition was to determine which Southern teams would continue to compete in the nationals. The competition consisted of a multiple-choice test on computer theory and history, which was eye-opening to our dire need of more practice, and a web development component. The coding section entailed four hours of programming with one laptop, no Wi-Fi, and a prompt detailing the requirements. After those tiring hours of designing and coding, we presented a website with an expansive range of functions, but barely any visual appeal due to time constraints. However, the application’s functional nature, in addition to our presentation, brought the season’s first victory home to Atlanta.

Malik and his teammates are 2016 HSCC Champions!
Following our encouraging win in June, the rest of the summer was spent diligently preparing for August’s week-long conference and national competition. Being the GA team meant we were defending our title as the reigning champions on our own turf. I am proud to say that my teammates and I brought Atlanta its second consecutive national victory. Over 30 teams were present from across the country. Rather than four hours, this contest required each team to huddle around two laptops for eight hours straight. The moment the BDPA president said that the first place team “should feel right at home in Atlanta,” I realized we had won. I felt a sensation of extreme joy and pride in myself and my teammates. There are no words to describe my ecstasy as we received our trophies on the stage. This experience was instrumental in my journey from childhood to adulthood because it built my confidence in myself and my ability to lead."
BDPA Education and Technology Foundation is very proud of Malik's involvement with BDPA. I encourage everyone who support BDPA to make a donation to the Bemley Scholarship Fund.

1 comment:

Wayne Hicks said...

Bemley Scholarship (Ch #5544, $2.5k) sent to Morehouse College on behalf of Malik Saafir. He and his teammates did us proud! Congratulations Malik!