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Minnesota Students Win National Coding Competition

In a competition hosted by Black Data Processing Associates, middle and high school students from several Minnesota districts created a social network in July, then had eight hours to refine it at an event in August.

(TNS) — A team that included four Rochester middle and high school coders took first place in a national competition hosted by the Black Data Processing Associates.

The BDPA describes itself as the "premier organization focused on nurturing and developing diverse working professionals and future IT leaders in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and all digital technology fields."

Toni Adafin, vice president of member services for the Southern Minnesota BDPA chapter, said the students created a social network during July. Then, during the competition in August, they had eight hours to refine that network.

"We also integrated artificial intelligence into our application," Adafin said about the network the students created.

The BDPA Youth Computer Training Program prepares students for the competition and runs from December through June at Century High School.

The Rochester members of the team included Gautam Anand, John Marshall High School sophomore; Lucy Evans, John Marshall High School freshman; Samuel Kaspar, John Adams Middle School eighth-grader; and Isha Jayakumar, an eighth-grader at Dakota Middle School.

The team also included King-Diorr Willsun. Although he's based in the Twin Cities, he attends Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire as a high school junior.

The BDPA Southern Minnesota chapter was created in 1999.

According to the BDPA, the competition "is designed to give students the opportunity to be exposed to web development programming and project delivery."

"We've always had a very diverse pool of students that have competed," Adafin said.

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