Upper Cape Students to Participate in Inaugural Hackathon

MASHPEE – Dozens of students from high schools across the Upper Cape will participate in an inaugural hackathon Friday as part of Massachusetts STEM Week.

Mashpee Public Schools and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe have partnered to host the event which will include 8th to 12th grade students from Bourne, Falmouth, Sandwich and Upper Cape Tech.

The will be held at the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Community & Government Building and begin at 9 a.m.

Organizers expect about 20 students to participate from each school.

Students will form teams and create projects that benefit the local community using hacking and computer science skills. They will have the opportunity to create their own app, program a robot, design a website and use AutoCad software.

Presentations be each team will be made to a panel of judges at the end of the event.

Cynthia Wigren, the CEO and Co-Founder of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy will be the keynote speaker for the event.

Mashpee Public Schools Technology/Engineering/Robotics Teacher Amanda Hough said she is excited to bring this opportunity to Upper Cape students.

“This Hackathon will allow students to work outside their schools with other students and alongside industry professionals to experience the Wampanoag culture, and explore computer science skills,” Hough said. “It is my dream day for students as a STEM teacher.”

Mashpee Public Schools Superintendent Patricia DeBoer said Hackathon is another partnership event that reinforces that the Upper Cape is “a Connected Community.”

“It’s an opportunity for students from across several Cape schools to get together and interact with each other, and team up with different students to problem solve some sort of real situations that hopefully will help out the Cape,” DeBoer said.

DeBoer said the program is important because it allows the students who are participating to be role models.

“What they are getting to do is problem solve and take risks and collaborate and be creative, and that is what we want our students to have opportunities to do more of,” DeBoer said. “We hope once they graduate they will be leaders in that type of work.”

DeBoer said she hopes students take away the energy and passion for exploring and being creating.

“[I hope] they are appreciative of the efforts that they have to work with others and see that they can create better things together than sometimes we can as independent workers,” she said.

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell said the event is a great opportunity for all students to explore technology and test their creativity.

“Just think, the next Steve Jobs, or even Mary Ross, the first Native American woman aerospace engineer may be in our midst,” he said.

Mashpee students had an opportunity to participate in a hackathon off Cape last year and Hough worked on bringing a similar opportunity close to home.

DeBoer said using the Wampanoag Community Center as a venue was a perfect fit.

“The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has such a beautiful facility and we are always trying to have opportunities for more people to see that space and enjoy that space and learn about the culture,” DeBoer said.

Massachusetts STEM Week 2019 runs from October 21 through October 25 and is organized by the Executive Office of Education and the STEM Advisory Council in partnership with the state’s nine Regional STEM Networks.

STEM Week is a statewide effort to boost the interest, awareness and ability for all learners to envision themselves in STEM education and employment opportunities, and compliment the formal instruction happening in Massachusetts schools.

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