McHenry County College hosts new competition for high school students interested in programming

Crystal Lake Central High School student took first while two Prairie Ridge High School students tied for second

Twelve area high school students recently participated in McHenry County College’s first Battlesnake Competition, an event that taught students various applications of computer programming and algorithms, according to a news release.

Student Aiden Keck of Crystal Lake Central High School took first place during the online competition, which was hosted in classrooms at Crystal Lake Central and Prairie Ridge high schools at the end of March, according to the release. Ryan Atkinson and Paige Keller of Prairie Ridge tied for second.

The competition allows for single- and multi-player tournaments. The objective of the game was to program a “snake” controller that avoids walls and finds energy items to keep moving.

Students with more experience in programming could build algorithms that supported chasing – and avoiding – other snakes in the arena. The game is ultimately about survival of the player’s snake.

McHenry County College worked with high school teachers in the area to find students interested in programming, according to release. The students who participated in the Battlesnake competitions were members of programming clubs at their high schools.

“The Battlesnake arenas are excellent platforms for learning algorithms at all levels,” said Jack Brezenski, who leads McHenry County College’s robotics program at MCC. “In the competition, students chose from several mainstream programming languages. The amount of work and degree of sophistication varied with each game. This environment allowed students to collaborate globally and score their programs against other competitors.”

More information about McHenry County College’s programming courses can be found at www.mchenry.edu/programming.