CodeRed & Oracle – The starting point

Convincing people to try new things is never easy. After a few weeks of annoying my friends to try out this cool new tech competition called a “hackathon” I finally won them over. Then we got there… with very little vision besides Brandt Swanson wanting to “make a game”. Then it hit me. This is a competition based around innovation; solving problems. I then re-evaluated the challenges at hand. BlueChasm / Methodist and Oracle had the most appealing ones. I then brought making a “patient monitoring web app for families” to the table. The guys thought that was a great idea… but none of us had any experience with web apps at the time. I gave them 3 words, “PHP, Oracle Cloud, and MySQL” and we split up into front-end, back-end, and cloud teams. After several hours of YouTube tutorials and perseverance we put something together that was presentable: Nurse Janeā„¢. Turns out that our involvement with Oracle got us some attention. We took home “BlueChasm Best Hack” and Oracle “Honorable Mention” that night.

The thought

A few weeks after the “WE WON!!” hype died down, I thought to myself: “we’re a bunch of high school kids that just won at a college hackathon, if only I could get more people from Klein High to come”. Of course there was a way to make this thought a lot leaner. Bring the hackathon to them instead!

No… No no no… did I mention no?

I brought the hackathon idea up to an assistant principal in an email… and promptly got a “I don’t think this is in my scope [blah blah]”. I needed to find a way to get my vision heard by someone powerful enough to give me a “Yes, go ahead!”. So up the chain of command I went until I got stopped by the Associate Principal of Klein High School, Debbie Pennington, (she was the head of curriculum and academics) who after she found out my intentions to keep calling up the line of command (after telling me no a few times) told me that she would advocate my vision at the next district meeting.

The “yes” heard round the world

We got a yes! Apparently the Advanced Academics Coordinator, Beth Gilleland, saw something in my vision that she liked. (I still could never thank her enough) We got the go-ahead! Let’s go!

Let’s go!… wait where are we going?

I got the team together, started discussing our own hackathon at Klein ISD, then we realized we needed a few things to get started. Wait, I said a few things, I meant $20,000, a venue, website, registration system, judging plans, security, power, and the list goes on. Our vision was great but we had zero execution plan, and zero funding. However, thanks to the Klein Education Foundation and our amazing sponsors, we were able to gather enough resources to put on an event.

The first KleinHacks ever

We did it, April 21st 2018, KleinHacks was a success! (Read more about it here) Our team managed to put on one of the most impactful events I’ve ever seen in Klein ISD. There will be more! I started a legacy, and I’m going to make sure this event continues running with the amazing support we have from our community.

Go find your “yes” in the infinite sea of no’s. Trust me it’s out there.

Juan Requena