Student created computer science contest garners attention of local companies

Students from all over the Mid-south gathered at Houston High School on a Saturday for a vaguely named, “Computer Science Contest”. Rounding the corner into the classroom, the atmosphere was silent and focused as twenty-something teenagers were totally absorbed into their computers. The contest was organized and administered by Daniel Sylwestrocwicz, a student at Houston.



“Students from all over are taking part in this contest, which is been designed to encourage critical thinking and solving problems. It’s a programming contest but it doesn’t test syntax knowledge—it’s really more about problem solving,” whispers Sylwestrowicz.



Inspired by some of the computer contests he’s taken part in earlier years, he designed the problems in his free time, he says. Sylwestrowicz moved to America in the middle of his high school career and jumped at the chance to participate in the bustling, albeit young computer science program at Houston. In Poland, Sylwestrowicz’s school was entirely focused on computer science. Here, he found that American high schools did not emphasize it as much.



A point of fact that Steve Denegri and Toby Fanning are incredibly interested in. Fanning works for ServiceMaster, a Fortune 1000 company that holds its headquarters in Memphis. Denegri serves as the leader of Tech901, a non-profit organization with an aim to train current or potential Memphians for a variety of information technology jobs. ServiceMaster along with Tech901 both signed on to sponsor the contest.



“Our goal is to improve the base of tech jobs in the city and coding is a key aspect of what we are doing. We are trying to make the city more aware that Memphis really is already more of a tech destination because of companies like ServiceMaster that badly need this type of expertise—and we are trying to help equip the upcoming workforce with this skillset,” says Tech901’s Denegri.

“This is extremely relevant to ServiceMaster, because these students are solving problems—but also the depth at which they are working is impressive,” added Fanning.

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