SC student wins regional coding contest

Simon Kempker, an eighth grader at Superior Central, won third place in the Congressional App Challenge. The challenge was designed to challenge students to hone their coding skills in a unique and innovative app, applying their knowledge of computer science and STEM to create real-life technology.

“He worked diligently on this. When other students stopped improving it, he kept going and had to learn new codes,” said Kristy Frederick, Kempker’s coding teacher. “It has a ton of variables, some of them are on the screen. He did a very good job and should be proud.”

The game itself is a basic farming simulator, having players make good decisions in tending to their virtual farmland. Players have the option of choosing different crops, handling pest management, financing the plantings all while dealing with seasons and weather. The game has 160 lines of code, enhancing the gameplay with multiple images and background music.

Starting as a classroom project, the java-based program is designed to teach students the impact an app can make in everyday life.

“It’s imperative that students are challenged to expand their horizons in computer science,” said Jack Bergman, U.S. Congressman for Michigan’s first district. “The challenge involves students in today’s fastpaced world of advancing technologies and recognizes those contributing to that landscape with exemplary ability.”

Cedric Kanner of Traverse City finished in first place. Kempker was the only finalist from the Upper Peninsula.

The eighth grader was proud of representing Superior Central and his hometown in the contest, but showed humility over the accomplishment.

“I’m surprised that I got this far,” Kempker said. “I did it for the grade, not for the win.”

The game can be played through a web browser or downloaded directly to a phone at ykcy46kf.