GradeScout @ HackJPS 2023

GradeScout @ HackJPS 2023
Photo by Saanvi Budigam

From April to June, members of GradeScout's development team worked meticulously to organize HackJPS 2023 - an opportunity for students both at J.P. Stevens High School and elsewhere to both demonstrate and enhance their skills in computer science. The organizers included GradeScout cofounders Troy Gunawardene, Sai Voruganti, and Naishadh Patel as well as developer Ishaan Gupte.

The team managed to raise an astounding $55,000+ in prizes by the event date with sponsorships from Google, Wolfram Language, Art of Problem Solving, Echo3D, and several other reputable companies in the technology ecosystem.

Over 250 students participated, and around 100 signed up to come in person. Ultimately, around 50 projects were submitted by attendees of varying age and experience. Many projects were very impressive and exceeded expectations.

"HackJPS has showed me that my capabilities in programming were better than I thought," says Adithiya Venkatakrishnan, who won the Best Youth Hack category. "Participating in HackJPS has motivated me to continue working on my skills."

Panaov Sonkar, who won the Most Launchable category, agrees, noting that he has felt "more motivated than ever to work on my passion projects." Panaov says that HackJPS "was a good challenge for coding fanatics like me."

A variety of workshops were held by current and former JPS students. JPS clubs/organizations that held workshops include the CyberHawks club, JPS Research Society, JPS Girls Who Code, and the school's FRC robotics team, The WarHawks. Several alumni also got involved, including Rushd Syed & Sibi Tiruchi of Rutgers USACS (who hosted a great workshop on JavaFX), Sean Seneviratne (judge & mentor, data engineer at Bloomberg), and Mr. Joseph Lee (mentor, CS teacher at John Adams Middle School).

GradeScout's team was involved in the event at every step, including acquiring sponsors, coordinating with the Edison BOE & school administration, paying for food, promoting the event, contacting judges, running the livestream, and taking pictures. Involved team members include:

  • Sai Voruganti (Organizer)
  • Troy Gunawardene (Organizer)
  • Naishadh Patel (Organizer)
  • Ishaan Gupte (Organizer)
  • Aaryan Patel (Livestream)
  • Subham Patel (Photography)
  • Saanvi Budigam (Photography, Promotion)
  • Zulal Ozgur (from JPS Robotics; Event Helper)
  • Krishan Trikha (Community Management, Promotion)
  • Rishigaanesh Balajirajah (Community Management, Promotion)
  • Ashvin Satwani (Community Management)
  • Sidharth Ponram (Community Management)
  • Arnav Todupunoori (Community Management)

Several other team members were also indirectly involved, especially with promotion.

The organizers would also like to thank the JPS Technology Department for dedicating time and equipment to assist with the livestream effort. The livestream recordings can be viewed here and here.

"GradeScout's impact on the community with events like HackJPS is not to be taken lightly," observes Adithiya, adding that such events motivate teens to pursue their interest in coding and offer an excellent opportunity to gain new skills.

Overall, the event was a great success, and the organizing team is looking into holding a bigger and better event in the future for HackJPS 2024.