Big picture
A poster of the KleinHacks event. Image courtesy of the official Klein Hacks website.

Beginning next week, teams of Klein ISD students will learn, design, and create applications next Saturday and Sunday at Klein High School’s second annual 24-hour hackathon.

“You can learn to do a lot of things at KleinHacks,” Klein High junior David Bauducco said. Bauducco is one of the directors of the KleinHacks event. “For example, we have a whole section of time devoted to help[ing] teach people how to create simple websites.”

Last year, Klein Hacks had around 100 students attend the 24-hour event. This year, attendance is expected to double. If students want to register for the event, there is a form located on the KleinHacks webpage.

In addition, the event will have more sponsors last year, ranging from local businesses that will provide food, to major tech corporations such as GitHub and Typeform. This year’s biggest sponsor is Microsoft.

“Every sponsorship is different. Some are monetary, some are food, others are just allowing us to use equipment or bring in mentors. Regardless, each plays a huge part in making the event happen,” Bauducco said. “It was a lot off grunt work [getting the sponsorships], that is for sure. Plenty [of] emails and phone calls. We reached out to some companies just by cold calling, others are previous sponsors or district contacts. We got a lot more ‘no’ than ‘yes’, but we are happy with our sponsors this year. Personnel in the district put us in contact with Microsoft. We are really thankful they did because Microsoft is going to be a huge sponsor this year.”

At KleinHacks, sponsors such as Chick-fil-A and Whataburger will provide students with free food. But when coming to the event, students are recommended to bring their own supplies such as laptops, blankets, water, and other supplies students may want to bring in while staying at the event.

“We recommend people bring their own laptop,” Bauducco said. “Your own sleeping bag, some personal snacks, a jacket, a refillable water bottle, and a pillow are all good ideas! You can really bring in anything you want [as long as they are within the Klein ISD student handbook and Major League Hacking guidelines].” 

During the event, students will be able to win prizes by completing challenges and also by winning competitions against other teams. Even students with no programming skills can compete and complete the challenges.

“All the big prizes are won by winning challenges,” Bauducco said. “Challenges are just a problem that you need to create a solution for. This year, our challenges are pretty straightforward and almost anyone can make a good solution for them.” 

Before its inception, the KleinHacks team wanted to found a hackathon for high-school students in the Klein district that could replicate the atmosphere of a college hackathon.

“Hackathons have been, for a long time now, a big thing within college students. Our founders last year wanted to bring that same experience to high schoolers,” Bauducco said.

As of this week, only a limited number of spots are left, but the KleinHacks team is still encouraging students to register on the KleinHacks’ webpage.