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Penobscot Bay Press
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News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, June 20, 2019
Second annual Pioneer Prize announces winners

Pioneer Prize winners

Ninth-graders Sam Bach of George Stevens Academy, left, and Millicent Fleming and Chloe Sheahan of John Bapst and GSA, hold up their winnings from the second annual Pioneer Prize software project contest for area high school students.

Photo courtesy of Mark Messer

Pioneer Prize has announced the winners of its second annual software project contest for area high school students. This year’s prize will go to Sam Bach, 15, for his innovative security monitor, and Millicent Fleming, 14, and Chloe Sheahan, 15, for their coded quiz show game. According to a news release, the teams will be awarded a share of almost $5,000 in prize money.

A 9th grader at George Stevens Academy, Bach crafted a roving security monitor built on a Roomba. It was implemented using a custom integration of the vacuum, a Raspberry Pi computer, video capture and motion detection software. The judges were impressed by Bach’s ambitious proposal, his self-sufficiency in finding and utilizing resources around the web, and his ability to deliver on an impressive integration of knowhow and technology.

Ninth graders at John Bapst and GSA, Fleming and Sheahan formed a team to create a quiz show game featuring “spoilers” of famous books to engage potential readers. It was implemented as a website using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. The judges were impressed by the compelling project idea, the excellent collaboration within the team and with their mentor, and the substantial progress the team made given that this was their very first coding project.

“These two teams embody the ambition of the annual Pioneer Prize, which seeks to inspire and offer opportunities to both advanced ‘techies’ and adventurous ‘newbies.’ Software-coding skills promise to expand the learning and earning opportunities for young people in our communities,” the release stated.

The Pioneer Prize has been established by members of the community to motivate and celebrate the remarkable capacity of our young people to forge new pathways of economic opportunity. By recognizing and rewarding their independent passions in the area of software, Pioneer Prize hopes to foster a growing local community of high-value skills.

More information is available on pioneerprize.com and questions can be directed to team@pioneerprize.org.