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Bob Jones excels in UAB computer science meet

MADISON – Bob Jones High School’s Computer Science Team won top-place honors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham High School Programming Competition.

Coding was the only test at the UAB contest with 60 students from five schools on March 18.

“Students didn’t prepare any materials in advance. That’s the contest’s challenge and creativity,” sponsor Jennifer Rountree said. She teaches software development (C programming), C++ programming, advanced-placement CS A (Java), AP computer science principles and senior pathways involving a project or internship.

Organizers didn’t tell students about the types of problems to expect. “They had to find a way to program a reasonable and efficient solution for each problem,” Rountree said.

Evan Krohn, Corey Tolbert and Cheng Zhou took first, second and third places, respectively, in ninth- and tenth-grade division. Joshua Todd and Winston Van took second and fourth places, respectively, in the eleventh- and twelfth-grade division.

Other Bob Jones students at the UAB contest were Michael Colsch, Justin Byers, Joshua Byers, Evan Osborn, Albert Frutos and Brandon Seoane.

After orientation, students went to UAB labs to run trial programs and familiarize themselves with submit programs (and resubmit if solutions were incorrect) with the UAB lab system. In a three-hour timeframe, winning students wrote the most programs with correct output.

The UAB competition also raises awareness for the need of computer science in Alabama. “Many initiatives in past years worked to increase students taking CS classes at the high-school and college level and encourage entering a tech field, but we’re still struggling to increase those numbers,” Rountree said.

Along with the contest, Bob Jones students toured the UAB Computer Science Department and interacted with graduate students throughout the day. “They got to challenge their programming skills and see how they compare with their peers across the state,” Rountree said.

“Many of my students, especially CS Team students, plan to either major in computer science or some STEM field that will integrate computer science with another field,” Rountree said.

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