Liberty students win advanced PLU high school programming contest

Gabe Waldbaum, News Editor

You have three hours. You enter a competition with a team and are given a list of programming problems. A team gets points each time they solve a problem, and if two teams are tied in points, the tie-breaker goes to the one that solved them faster. The problems can be solved with any coding program desired but any coding must be made from scratch in the competition area.
This is the situation seniors Ian Weiss, Jillian Polsin, and Duncan Magendanz won in at the PLU programming competition on February 11.
“Winning the competition was more surprising than anything. Half an hour before the end, when they took the scoreboard offline, we were in second place. When they announced second place and it was the team who we thought was in first, I was just shocked speechless,” Weiss said.
The students are usually given about ten problems and need to create their own code to solve them. Every time a group solves a problem, they call over the judges either by raising their hand or using a code word to verify they can move on; for Liberty students, the code word is pineapple.
“My favorite experience is probably serenading the judges by screaming the word pineapple,” Polsin said. “It makes it a lot of fun and makes the situation a lot less tense.”
There was a beginner and advance programming competition available at the event.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Polsin said. “It’s not just about the programming; it’s about getting to know the people in the industry.”
The judges of the competition share their personal experiences with programming, allowing the students to hear what the skills they are practicing in the competition can transition into.
“I go for the entire experience,” Magendanz said. “The competition is fun. You get to throw your competitiveness in there, and then you get to meet all the instructors, the people with actual job experience, and you get to have a lot of fun messing around.”