Siuslaw storms Springfield for Computer Science Education Week


(From left) Students from Siuslaw Middle School traveled to Springfield on Dec. 10 for a Lego Robotics competition at Thurston High. (photo by Patrick Looney); Siuslaw High students spent three days on the campus of Wayfair in Springfield for SHS’s fourth ever CodeOrCreate competition. (photo by Eddie Mielke)

SHS and SMS send teams to competitions in Springfield

Dec. 21, 2022 — Siuslaw School District sent teams to two competitions in Springfield last weekend. Both teams fared well and represented their schools exceptionally.

First, Siuslaw Middle School’s Lego Robotics students attended their Lego Robotics competition at Thurston High School on Dec. 10. This was the first in-person robotics competition to be held since 2019. 

Siuslaw sent three teams consisting of:

Lego Kings: Grant Edman, Mykah Knabe, Owen Henry

Master Builders: Rylan Pierce, Jude Sapp

Team Yoshi: Lucca Flosi, Brayden Sibbett, Michael Veronesi

The Lego Kings were first in the robot challenge portion of the competition with a field score of 245, the second place team scored 190. Team Yoshi placed fourth with 180 and Master Builders was close behind with 160. 

Each team also presented an innovation project that required them to solve a problem around a theme. This year’s theme was called “Super Powered” and required the students to research various aspects of energy systems including storage, transmission and distribution. 

Lego King’s project focused on air taxi/drone charging stations around busy locations. 

Master Builders built a prototype that harnessed the kinetic energy of students. 

Team Yoshi’s project was about retractable powerlines that would avoid fall damage from storms. 

The students also got to see demonstrations of advanced robotics from various high schools around the district. In addition, students shared an early morning bus with the high school coding teams that were attending a competition in Springfield that day as well.

Also in Springfield, SHS sent its CodeORCreate team for a three-day competition, Dec. 9 – 11. 

CodeORCreate is a 48-hour competition between Lane County schools that offers the students a chance to create a video game or website based on a specific topic. The topic is released at noon on Friday and the students have 48 hours to complete their project. The students then present their creations to a panel of industry professional judges. 

The video game topic for this year required students to build a game that tackles the topics of housing security and housing inequity. 

The website topics included Youth Worker’s Rights, a Mental Health Resource Site, or a Youth Online Marketplace.

This was SHS’s fourth CodeORCreate competition. 

The teams that participated were:

Fenrir (Chose Game Topic): Hannah Edman, Taylor Spencer, Ethan Spencer and Ezra Nelson

JVGameDev (Chose Game Topic): Noel Hernandez, Jordan Strickland, Lucian Murphy, Erik Danielsson and Sean Martinez

Test Tubes (Chose Game Topic): Braylon Evans, Keegan Evans, Jasmine Bledsoe, Wade Richmond and Benito Whitney

Team Hephestus (Chose to build a Youth Worker’s Rights website): Savannah Petrovic, Alexander Holm, Benjamin Bourgeois and Asher Moya.

The teams received their challenge at noon and went immediately to work with brainstorming and prototyping. They worked until 7 p.m. on Friday before returning home to get ready for the next day. 

The following morning, Siuslaw boarded a bus at 6:15 a.m. and headed for the Wayfair location in Springfield to continue working on team projects. Wayfair was the corporate sponsor for the event and provided conference rooms and equipment for all teams. 

Wayfair also allowed the students to access the amenities provided to their employees like the unlimited snack and coffee bar. Each team was also assigned a professional mentor that has ties to the local Eugene technical businesses, which collectively are commonly referred to as the Silicon Shire. 

The first day working at Wayfair ended at 5 p.m. and the students traveled over to a hotel to check in and relax for the evening. Some students chose to continue working on their projects while others enjoyed the many nearby food options and got some rest and relaxation.

Waking up refreshed and ready on Sunday morning, the students returned to Wayfair to put the finishing touches on their projects and concentrate on their presentations. 

Teams worked from 9 a.m. to Noon on Sunday. After a quick lunch, the presentation portion of the competition started at 12:30 p.m. The judges for the competition were all industry professionals that work at local game and web development companies in the Eugene area. 

Each team had 10 minutes to present and demo their products.

After the presentations, the judges sequestered themselves to decide on the winners of each category. Team Fenrir won first place in the game development portion with their top-down city simulator, EcoHaven. 

JVGameDev tied for second place and the Test Tubes tied for third place. Team Hephestus came in second place in the website category with their site about youth workers’ rights.

Overall, it was an excellent experience for students, coaches, and their mentors. The Siuslaw teams all experienced what it is like to be at a large tech corporation and see what day-to-day office life is like when working in the tech and computer industry. The students learned the importance of brainstorming, problem-solving, and cooperation.