Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO), which hosted its 27th annual Southern Maryland High School Computer Bowl on March 5, encourages the software developers of tomorrow by sponsoring the competition. With information technology firmly embedded in daily life, electric utilities like SMECO depend heavily on computer equipment to help keep the lights on for their customers. Utilities also depend on technology experts who can create and maintain software programs to ensure that all computerized systems run efficiently.
This year’s Computer Bowl, held at North Point High School in Charles County, featured nearly 70 young computer experts 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.
Seventeen 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, using programming languages such as Java. Charles County Public Schools equipped each team with two laptops for the programming portion of the competition.
Taking the top spot was a team from St. Mary’s County’s Great Mills High School. Team members were Belinda Chiu, Mychell Ronquillo, Collin Songy, and Nicholas Tobler, coached by Nora Blasko. Huntingtown High School in Calvert County won second place with team members Jared Brown, Reed Lundegard, Jimmy Nguyen, and Zach Sims, coached by Tom Currier. Another team from Huntingtown High School took third place with team members Brian Holt, Brandon Jackson, Alex Kastaniotis, and Sam Matthews Placing fourth was Northern High School in Calvert County with team members Jim Kong, William Longsworth, and Justen Serrao, coached by Victoria Longsworth.
Winners received plaques and trophies. 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 employees Alan Cooper, Carrie Dalton, Chad Kilgore, and Laurie Lawrence served as judges for the competition, along with Joe Burgin from the College of Southern Maryland. Lora Bennett and John Stine with Charles County Public Schools developed the literacy and programming tests used in the competition.