Another Semester of Success: The National Computer Science Schools Challenge

Annibel, Johanna, Siena, Grace and Sophia with their certificates

Once again, Santa Maria College students have produced some wonderful results in the National Computer Science Schools Challenge, which runs in March-April and July-August each year.

The Challenge is an online programming competition for students run by Grok Academy. Each week for five weeks, a set of Python coding modules are sent to participants together with a set of eight tricky problems testing this material. Participants submit their solutions to the Grok website, where they are automatically marked, and feedback is given. The problems get harder as the competition progresses!

This semester, our Year 8 Robotics & Coding class took up the challenge and were dedicated coders, working very hard to complete as many problems as they could within the timeframe of the competition. Melissa Marshall, Head of Digital Innovation, supported the girls as they tackled the problems and thought hard about how to fix errors.  Four girls received a perfect score of 400 across the competition this semester, bringing our total over 2022 to 13! 

Members of the class helped one another, and each received a certificate aligned with their level of achievement. 

Certificates of Perfection

Siena Antonas
Annibel Godsall
Johanna Kingsbury
Sophia Valentine

Certificate of High Distinction

Grace Fullgrabe

Here’s what some of the girls had to say about the competition.

“Through the course of the challenge, I have expanded my creativity. The NCSS challenges were stretching and more difficult than I expected, but it surprised me about how creative coding requires you to be. I thought coding only had one correct way, but there are many ways to get to the same outcome. Completing the NCSS challenge taught me this.” Siena Antonas

“All the coding I have learned in Python will also be helpful in the future. Coding is an essential part of some specific jobs, such as data analyst, environmental scientist, and many different types of engineering. Being able to code is a great advantage and can provide a real boost for jobs like these. Coding is also a way of the future as we are moving forward into a very technologically advanced world. Having the ability to code (in this case in Python) or even a basic ability to code, this skill can be a big benefit. If I were in the future to become one of the above-listed jobs, I would be able to use all the coding that I have learnt this term, and it would be a big benefit.” Annibel Godsall

“A skill I learned through this challenge was persistence. When I got a question wrong, I had to keep persisting and trying until I got it right. For example, in the question ‘Sushi Train’, I really struggled and had to be persistent. I also learned how to code the computer to draw a picture through this challenge. I loved the question where we had to draw the face for an emotion because it was fun, and I learned a lot from it.” Chelsea Smith

Congratulations to all of the participants who worked so hard throughout the challenge.

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