Meet Fermata, the winning project from Philly's first high-school coding competition - Technical.ly Philly

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Jul. 2, 2018 1:06 pm

Meet Fermata, the winning project from Philly’s first high-school coding competition

Three 16-year-olds from Palumbo High School snagged the grand prize with their website, which tests your knowledge of music theory.

Morgan Wilson (left) Tamir Gorham and Hadi Hijazi took home the big prize.

(Photo courtesy of Joe Divis)

As part of Philly’s first high-school coding competition, 10 teams of young coders spent weeks working on their web development projects with oversight from mentors.

In the end, the grand prize of $1,000 at the Coded by Kids Ctrl+ Shift coding competition — awarded on June 23 at Saxbys HQ — went to a trio of 16-year-old developers from South Philly’s Academy at Palumbo.

Fermata, an educational website for lovers of music theory was the winning project created by Tamir Gorham, Morgan Wilson and Hadi Hijazi. The site riffs on the Jeopardy! format to quiz visitors on musical notation, genres and instrument families.

“The website’s main teaching method is in the form of a lesson,” the developers told Technical.ly in an email. “The lesson is designed for people with little to no knowledge of music theory. It’s short and simple with many pictures throughout in order to help people who are visual learners. After our users read the lesson page, they can quiz their knowledge with jeopardy. It’s a fun and competitive way to test what was in the lesson.”

The trio of 16-year-olds said the role music played in their everyday lives inspired them to teach others the theoretical elements of music.

“This is why Fermata’s mission is important to us,” the kids said. “It teaches people with little to no music experience all of the basics of music theory. This allows people to gain an understanding of what elements go into their favorite songs.”

Devs from the Academy at Palumbo, where Coded by Kids deployed its program with help from Uber’s 8-80 initiative, also took the two runner-up spots: Nightmare, a website designed to create mental health awareness, and Rhythm & Brunch, the site for a neighborhood restaurant in Southwest Philly, rounded out the podium.

“The projects showcased at this competition prove what’s possible when you invest in high quality tech education in K-12,” said Coded by Kids founder and CEO Sylvester Mobley. “Our students built thoughtful projects that addressed important issues in their lives. There wasn’t one person at the awards ceremony who wasn’t impressed by their work and professionalism.”

Ctrl+Shift was created with support from the AT&T Aspire Foundation. The event and prizes were sponsored by a mix of local tech organizations and stakeholders like Message Agency, Jacobs, Turn5, Think Company, Arcweb, WhyFly and former city CIO Adel Ebeid.

Full disclosure: Technically Media CEO Chris Wink is on the board of Coded by Kids. He was not involved in this report.

Organizations: Coded by Kids
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