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Code Quest: FHS Brings Home Gold

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Fallston brings home gold! (Photo courtesy of Addy Rebasti)

On Saturday, February 24th, two Fallston teams with three students each competed in Code Quest, an event sponsored by Lockheed Martin – a leading global aerospace and security company that works closely with the U.S. government. Code Quest is a competition where teams from schools across Maryland come to show off their coding skills. The primary team consisted of Brandon Low, Yiyang Liu, and Addy Rebasti while the secondary team consisted of Natalie Ellerman, Noah Dubé and Maddy Burch, the first of which took home first place. 

Advisor Ms. Jennifer Canatella says, “I am proud of the team for returning to the competition for a second year and working hard to finish in 1st place in the novice division (4th overall).” 

 There are two different divisions: Novice and Advanced, and both Fallston teams entered under Novice. Each team is composed of three students sharing one computer to complete a series of coding questions on. “The actual competition lasted two and a half hours, and the goal was to solve as many coding problems from a given problem packet as possible within that time limit,” says Yiyang Liu. The problems varied in difficulty from low to medium to high. The more difficult the problem, the more points were awarded for the correct answer. 

 Yiyang continues, “For the first 2 hours, we were able to see the current score of each team on a scoreboard, however in the last 30 minutes the scoreboard was hidden to create mystery and excitement.” At the end of the 2.5-hour period, winners were declared based on the number of points they earned.  

 “We had a strong start, knocking out two easy problems within thirty minutes. Afterwards, we moved on to a medium difficulty problem which took us 40 minutes,” says Yiyang. At this point Brandon realized “the harder problems seemed to not take much longer than the easier ones which gave less points.” So, he suggested that they attempt a hard problem worth 55 points. This decision won them the competition because it ended up making up over half of their final score, which was 100.  

 “The competition went as well as it did because we found ourselves much better prepared than the previous year,” says Brandon. Last year, the team had a problem with rare situations that a basic program could not account for. So, this year they had to keep an open mind when their program failed. 

 Addy Rebasti says, “It felt really good. Last year we went and only got one question right. So, it was exciting to come back and win. It was also cool to have my father give me the award.” 

Paul and Addy Rebasti pose together after a big win! (Photo courtesy of Addy Rebasti)

 Prior to the competition, the teams had to train vigorously.  Meeting together bi-weekly through the Girls Who Code club, they used Lockheed Martin’s bank of past Code Quest questions to study.  

“One of the things I really focused on this year was learning from our failures last time. I was able to practice a rounding question we got stuck on last year through the Code Quest Website and spent time figuring it out before the competition, which helped us through a similar problem this time around,” says Yiyang. Brandon adds, that “through our many meetings and review of last year’s problems, we were able to spot problems we knew how to do rather than waste time on a problem we were unsure of.” 

Ms. J. Canatella says, “My hope is that Girls Who Code will continue next year and that students will continue to participate in the annual Code Quest competition.” 

When it came to the competition itself, each group member took on a distinct role. Brandon describes his as that of the “motivational leader that inspired the team to go beyond their limits.” He says, “I brought out 120 percent of our potential. If anyone needed anything I was there. Some water, goldfish, a fruit roll up? You could count on me to deliver!”  

Congratulations to both teams for valiant efforts and amazing job to Brandon, Addy, and Yiyang for working together to come out triumphant! 

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About the Contributor
Julianna Mullen, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Julianna Mullen is a senior and a third-year journalism student. Aside from her role as one of the Co-Editors-in-Chief, she is an involved member of the FHS community: she runs for the school's track and cross-country teams, is the leader of Voices of Equity and German Club, does Morning Announcements, and is an avid member of Green School Club, Envirothon, Academic Team, and the Fallston Drama Company. Julianna plans to continue pursuing her passions as an Environmental Sustainability major, International relations minor, and collegiate runner. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and traveling to new places. She loves to write news-like feature stories and is excited for the successful year ahead for The Print Staff. 
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