Mississippi students are hacking for a good cause - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Mississippi students are hacking for a good cause

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Not every hacker is in the business of doing bad. Mississippi students are learning how they can use their digital smarts for good.

"Anybody can hack but you choose what you can do with it," noted Zadarius Macklin. "You can do it in a positive or a negative way."

Now a group of five Jackson area students are proud of the label.

"You can't look at a person and say oh that's a hacker," said Elexis Daniels.

"I realize that hacking is more than just breaking into something for decoding a computer," added Devon McNeil.

The group recently won grand prize at a national hackathon in New Orleans. 

"Want to be able to create an app that's for the people in our communities who have the same problems as we do," explained Rachel Griffin.

Only one in the group had previous coding experience. But they developed an app that folks can use to report infrastructure or emergency to the city. It's called "Global Emergency Community Contact (GECC)".

"You can just take a picture and send a description to the people and they will get there as soon as possible," described Daniels. "And also our app will tell you the estimated time to tell you how far out they are."

Coding is at the core of app development. Clinton has decided to teach the skills starting at 5th grade.

"We're hoping that students will learn enough at the lower level to where when they get to junior high, they will be already writing some programs," said Eastside Elementary Principal Cindy Hamil.

There's now a push to get coding into the curriculum across the state.

Hackathon Grand Prize Team members include: Devon McNeil (Provine High School), Ariel Dille (Provine High School), Rachael Griffin (Bailey APAC), Zadarius Macklin (Provine High School) and Elexis Daniels (Terry High School). GECC Team Chaperone was Sadie Harris, Provine High teacher.

The winning team received new Samsung Galaxy Tablet 4s and six months of mentorship from Matt Kurt, Chief Technology Officer, of the New Orleans-based e-commerce company, Turbo Squid.

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