Conway students winners in state coding contest

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the winners of the Second Annual Governor’s All-State Coding Competition, which was held May 5 at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.

Hunter Fleming, Blake Hopkins and Archer Murray from Conway High School placed first and each received a $2,000 scholarship.

“Loving LIFE” at Conway High School: computer science teacher Kimberly Raup with the state championship coding team members Blake Hopkins (from left), Archer Murray and Hunter Fleming.

Benjamin Allen, John Ostermuller and Noah Sherry from Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts placed second and each received a $1,000 scholarship. The third place team of Matthew Anderson, William Babb and Jonathan Brinkley from Gentry High School each received scholarships of $500. The schools that sponsored the first-place, second-place and third-place teams received $10,000, $6,000 and $4,000, respectively, to support their computer science programs.

“After meeting this year’s coding competitors, I am confident that this is not the last time I’ll be hearing about their accomplishments,” Hutchinson said. “I am grateful for Verizon’s ongoing significant investment in this competition. The confidence you place in our students today is a down payment on their careers and the very future of Arkansas. And congratulations to this year’s winners. This is just one of many amazing challenges you’ll conquer.”

More than 85 teams from across the state participated in 16 regional competitions, an increase from 75 teams that competed in last year’s event. The top 16 teams from the regional events along with a team from last year’s first-place school received invitations to compete in the 2018 All-State Competition.

Hutchinson announced the inaugural year of this first-of-its-kind competition and Verizon’s $40,000 commitment at Hall High School in Little Rock during his Computer Science Coding Tour in September 2016. In 2017, Verizon expanded its financial support for the current year’s competition to $50,000.

Verizon contributed $50,000 to ARCodeKids to sponsor the competition, which awarded a 529 college savings scholarship to each member of the top three teams.

At today’s event, due to the success of the first two years, Verizon announced it would contribute $50,000 to sponsor the third year of the competition, with a portion of those funds to be used to train and certify computer science teachers across the state. 
“We believe that investing in our students and preparing them to thrive in a tech-dependent economy is one of the most important responsibilities of our time,” said Darlene Brugnoli, director of State Government Affairs at Verizon. “Gov. Hutchinson, the Arkansas Department of Education and ARCodeKids share in this belief, and we are honored to support their endeavors to bring computer science curriculum to the students of Arkansas. It is our pleasure to recognize the accomplishments of the 85 student teams that participated in the All-State Coding Competition and applaud the schools and faculty for dedicating their time and resources to see them through. We are happy to join in today’s celebration and participate in the effort to inspire these students for brighter futures.”