Carmel Valley club members win awards for programming at CodeDay

By Vic Wintriss

Anthony Cerruti, Alex Lillian and DJ Nelson received an award for the Best CodeDay game program.
Anthony Cerruti, Alex Lillian and DJ Nelson received an award for the Best CodeDay game program.

Twenty-two teams of eager young programmers (more than 120 kids) gathered recently at CyberHive San Diego, a shared workspace incubator that delivers business and technical support to early-stage cybersecurity and high-tech companies.

They gathered for CodeDay, a nonstop 24-hour sleepless sprint to produce the best computer program as determined by a team of local, professional judges.

CodeDay consists of a series of student programming events held around the world, in 32 cities this year. It’s the world’s largest educational programming marathon. The teams are mostly made up of high school and college students with a few middle and grade school students.

The League Of Amazing Programmers, a Carmel Valley after-school program that teaches kids the Java programming language starting in the fifth grade, entered five teams. The League teams came away with two of the three CodeDay awards presented, one for the best game program and the other for the best overall application.

Anthony Cerruti, a sixth-grader from Palmquist Elementary School in Oceanside, teamed with sixth-grader DJ Nelson and eighth-grader Alex Lillian, both from Rancho Santa Fe Middle School, to write a secret-door program to win the Best Game award. “The Door Game” requires a player to move around the screen with keyboard control and find secret tools to unlock a door. Dramatic sound effects add sparkle to the game. “It was really fun to write,” said 11-year-old Anthony, who stayed up all night working on the game.

Stephen Clark, Nicholas Clark and Ryan Nemiroff received the award for the Best Overall CodeDay application.

Ryan Nemiroff, a 10th-grader at Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, Stephen Clark, a senior, and his brother, Nicholas Clark, a seventh-grader both attending La Jolla Country Day School, worked as a team and won the Best Overall trophy for their “Grocery Guru” application. This app examines grocery receipts to predict when more items are needed for a particular recipe. It consists of an Android application for scanning receipts and receiving alerts and includes an SQL database for storing purchasing data. The students worked tirelessly all night to finish the job in time for the judging.

“It was a great learning experience,” said Nemiroff. Clark has been accepted at Carnegie Mellon, MIT and CalTech for the fall semester. He plans to attend MIT and will be studying computer science.

Other League teams made a website for learning HTML, a cellular automaton simulator, and a first-person adventure game using skills they learned by attending weekly classes at The League.