Students organize first ever MV Hackathon


Neda Shahiar

While pulling an all-nighter by choice may seem questionable, about 300 students from around the Bay will be coming together on their own volition to program for twenty four hours straight from June 10 to 11 at the first ever hackathon organized by MVHS students.

Participation in the hackathon entails working, usually in a team of 2-4, to create a usable project overnight. A team of six worked to plan the event, MVHacks, which will occur at 42 USA, a computer programming school located in Fremont.

The team includes Belmont High School junior Adrian Afif, MVHS sophomore Marc Bacvanski, and MVHS juniors David Sillman, Daniel Ciao, Ben Hoberman, and Paran Sonthalia, who has taught local computer science classes and developed multiple applications available on the Apple Store.

“We’ve attended a lot of hackathons in the past, for example Los Altos and San Mateo,” Sonthalia said regarding his team. “Students from all over the Bay have organized hackathons and we decided we might as well. It’s a good way to get to know different companies and is also just a fun event to put on for the community.”

Various companies such as Desmos, which offers an online graphing calculator, and Linkedin, the social-networking service, will offer resources for hosting workshops for newer programmers to develop skills such as iOS and Android app development. The hackathon presents an opportunity for companies to “promote their own products for the students to use,” according to Sonthalia.

These sponsors will also provide prizes to students who, during the programming competition, exhibit the best use of their products. MVhacks will award first, second, and third place prizes based on elements such as completeness, usability, and benefit to the community, criteria that will be noted by judges who work in the tech industry. Programmers may compete either in beginner rank or advanced rank depending on their experience levels.

I’ve taught other classes in the past and always seeing the projects at the end is pretty interesting–in a given amount of time, how much can be made?”

Howard Wang, a junior, plans to compete in the event with a team.

“I haven’t been to any hackathons before, but I signed up because my friends are organizing the event and software sounds really fun,” Wang said. “I’m most looking forward to creating something cool with other people to compete and hopefully learning how to make apps by myself.”

While iPhone and Android game applications will be produced at the event, Sonthalia anticipates a wide variety of projects ranging from community aid programs to business ideas with the potential to yield profits.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the projects that the students create,” Sonthalia said. “I’ve taught other classes in the past and always seeing the projects at the end is pretty interesting–in a given amount of time, how much can be made?”

Thanks to the sponsors, participation in the event is completely free and meals, snacks, computers, and a sleeping room will be provided. For more information about the event and to sign up, visit