On Saturday, 5/2, Kids Code Mississippi along with partners Maris, West & Baker; C Spire; SchoolStatus and JAWAD (Jackson Area Web and App Developers) held a full-day “hackathon” at Terry High School. The event featured 16 Terry High School students divided into four teams working from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., competing to design and build a new, speculative website for the city of Terry. The hackathon was the first in a planned series of development and coding-education oriented events deemed “DEV4MS.” The inaugural event is DEV4MS: Terry.

“The purpose of these events and Kids Code Mississippi is to promote awareness of digital skills in our state,” said Randy Lynn, DEV4MS co-organizer and partner with Maris, West & Baker Advertising. “The opportunities for job growth and economic development in the 21st century are grounded in digital literacy, including computer science and coding. Computer technology reaches into virtually every industry in our state, so it’s critical for Mississippi kids to learn these skills. At the same time, we recognize that there’s a lot of ‘digital infrastructure’ work that needs to be done throughout our state, which is why we decided to focus on a redesign of Terry’s website. Our hope is that we’ll have a product at the end of the hackathon that we can donate to the town.”

TerryWinners_KidsCodeProfessional developers from the Jackson area were on-hand Saturday acting as team mentors. Following the development phase, a panel of judges awarded prizes.

“To our knowledge, this is the first full-day hackathon for high school students held in Mississippi,” said Terry High teacher and event co-organizer Mehreen Butt. “I approached Kids Code because I thought a hackathon like this would be a fun way to give my students an opportunity to experience what it’s like to design and code a real website.”

The Kids Code Mississippi project can be followed on Twitter via @KidsCodeMS, or using #DEV4MS. DEV4MS: Terry is made possible by sponsorships from Mississippi-based companies SchoolStatus, C Spire, and Maris, West & Baker. Kids Code Mississippi is a project of the Fast Forward Mississippi initiative, powered by Maris, West & Baker.


Pictured to the left is the winning team from DEV4MS: Terry and the team’s mentor, Kendrick C. Wilson, a senior software development.