Country Day team places 14th at CodeWars competition

A team of three Country Day students ranked No. 14 out of a field of over 150 teams in this year’s March 6 HP CodeWars High School Programming Competition. Members included senior Keshav Anand, junior Nihal Gulati and sophomore Samhita Kumar. 

According to the competition’s website, CodeWars challenges a team of at most three students to solve coding questions via programming. Students are assigned 32 problems with each problem worth a certain number of points depending on the difficulty and skill required to answer it. At the end of three hours, the team with the most points wins.

However, unlike a traditional competition, CodeWars incorporates many pop culture references into its questions. In this year’s competition, a question titled “Tight Fit” referenced the popular “Despicable Me” franchise. The problem instructed competitors to calculate the number of minions capable of fitting in Gru’s spaceship. With that information, they then had to decide whether to approve or reject Gru’s proposed design.

Ultimately, the Country Day team completed 13 questions, earning them a total of 43 points by the end of the allotted time.

Going into the competition, the team had no expectation to place. For their teacher, Director of Technology Shelly Hinson, the only hope was that they would show up and have fun. 

That said, she could not be more proud of her students. 

“CodeWars is one of the most competitive worldwide competitions,” she said. “This is a huge accomplishment for these students, and their performance shows how talented they really are in the computer science field.” 

Despite the competitiveness of the event, every member of the team enjoyed the experience.

“I had a lot of fun with Samhita and Nihal,” Anand said. “They are both very good coders, so working with them was great. It was definitely a worthwhile experience.”

As a senior, Anand is unable to participate next year. However, Gulati and Kumar both plan to take part again. 

Sophomore Samhita Kumar’s completed code for a question in the competition. The code earned her team four points. (Photo by Kumar)

“Not only does CodeWars teach you a lot about programming, but it’s also just really fun to work on these problems,” Kumar said. “I’ve had a great experience thus far, so I definitely plan to go back next year.”

With the team down a member for next year’s competition, they encourage anyone interested in coding to consider participating.

“Since there is such a range in difficulty, the competition is pretty much open to coders of all levels,” Gulati said. “The questions at the end require an understanding of complex algorithms, but the first five or so can be completed by almost anyone in the AP Computer Science A class.” 

Like Gulati, Kumar encourages people interested in pursuing computer science to consider the competition. She said that despite it being a contest, it is not a high-stress environment. 

A team of three Country Day students ranked No. 14 out of a field of over 150 teams in this year’s March 6 HP CodeWars High School Programming Competition. Members included senior Keshav Anand, junior Nihal Gulati and sophomore Samhita Kumar. 

According to the competition’s website, CodeWars challenges a team of at most three students to solve coding questions via programming. Students are assigned 32 problems with each problem worth a certain number of points depending on the difficulty and skill required to answer it. At the end of three hours, the team with the most points wins.

However, unlike a traditional competition, CodeWars incorporates many pop culture references into its questions. In this year’s competition, a question titled “Tight Fit” referenced the popular “Despicable Me” franchise. The problem instructed competitors to calculate the number of minions capable of fitting in Gru’s spaceship. With that information, they then had to decide whether to approve or reject Gru’s proposed design.

Ultimately, the Country Day team completed 13 questions, earning them a total of 43 points by the end of the allotted time.

Going into the competition, the team had no expectation to place. For their teacher, Director of Technology Shelly Hinson, the only hope was that they would show up and have fun. 

That said, she could not be more proud of her students. 

“CodeWars is one of the most competitive worldwide competitions,” she said. “This is a huge accomplishment for these students, and their performance shows how talented they really are in the computer science field.”

“Even though it is a competition, I feel our team approaches it more as an opportunity to challenge ourselves,” she said. “I can’t speak to how the environment would be in person, but with it online, it was really just a chance to have fun and see what we could do.”

— By Simone DeBerry

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