Applications are now open for the fourth annual SPARK! Hackathon to take place at St. Anne’s-Belfield School on January 26 & 27, 2019.

This two-day event of learning and making is open to high school students throughout the region, and powered with the help of community sponsors, mentors, and volunteers. Previous years included participation by more than 60 students from a dozen area schools, all of whom were able to build skills, expand their networks, and solve real world problems.

“The Hackathon is really great for community building because it doesn’t matter what school you’re from or how much experience you have in computer science. Everyone starts at square zero with the problem statements and can only find a solution by combining talents and working together,” said St. Anne’s-Belfield School senior and Hackathon student organizer Olivia Strasburg. “It really broadens your problem solving and collaborative skills.”

Each participant will have the opportunity to choose two workshops during the “learnathon,” presented by volunteers and mentors in the local community. On the second day, all participants will work in groups to create and present solutions to problem statements brought by local organizations. A Demo Party on the evening of Jan. 27 will be open to the public, during which all groups will present their ideas and prototypes.

“This event promotes the collaboration between students of different ages and from different schools,” noted Albemarle High School senior Emma Abraham, who is also assisting with organizing the Hackathon. “It’s important because great ideas are made when focusing on the problem statements in such a concentrated time.” 

Hackathon applicants must currently attend high school, but no prior experience is required. The application deadline is Dec. 21, and applications received after that date will be placed on the waitlist. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis starting the first week in January.

To apply, or volunteer as a mentor or sponsor, please visit