Teen Jack Hamilton of Asheville School earns WVU scholarship at university’s computer programming competition

High school junior Jack Hamilton from Asheville School won West Virginia University’s high school level programming competition. Along with his victory came prize money and an annual scholarship to WVU.

The student, president of his high school’s computer science club, prepared for the competition using AP exam questions, Google Code Jam and prompts from past competitions on programming. Mentor and Asheville School’s director of technology Charles Long says the success didn’t come as a surprise.

“We’ve wanted him to attend a competition since he was a freshman,” Long says. “My goal has always been to expose our students to a higher level of computer science knowledge. Jack is taking Anna Lawrence’s advanced placement computer science class, but has far exceeded the expectations in the course.”

Here is the full release from Asheville School:

If you had a faulty odometer that always skipped the number four, no matter the place value, would you be able to figure out how many miles the vehicle has actually traveled? Asheville School junior Jack Hamilton can — and he put his skills to the test at West Virginia University’s High School Programming Competition.

The competing teams had four hours to solve 10 problems. Hamilton prepared for the competition by completing problems from AP exams, Google Code Jam, and other programming competitions.

“The format is similar to the AP exam, where they give you problems and then you solve them,” Hamilton said. “I figured they wouldn’t be much more difficult than the Google Code Jam problems.”

He must have figured correctly because Hamilton, who competed as an individual, won first place, prize money and an annual scholarship to WVU.

Contestants were allowed to bring any printed materials they wanted including books, notes, printed code, etc. — but no electronic devices. Each team was given access to a computer running Ubuntu 12.04.3 LTS Linux and were allowed to choose one out of six editors to use: vi/vim, gvim, emacs, gedit, Eclipse 4.3.1, or Dr. Java.

Hamilton left all printed materials out of the equation and chose Eclipse 4.3.1 as his editor, adding, “I picked the one that I had the most experience with that also had the most features.”

Asheville School’s Director of Technology Charles Long helped Hamilton search for programming competitions in the area, but because the local competition had been discontinued, his parents were able to find an option in West Virginia.

“It doesn’t surprise me that Jack would go that far in the competition. We’ve wanted him to attend a competition since he was a freshman. My goal has always been to expose our students to a higher level of computer science knowledge.” Long said. “Jack is taking Anna Lawrence’s AP Computer Science class, but has far exceeded the expectations in the course.”

Hamilton works with Mr. Long during the summer as an IT intern, is the president of Computer Science Club and is a member of the Robotics Team.

Click here to read more about the competition.

Asheville School is a nationally acclaimed co-ed, college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9 through 12. The 285 students enrolled at Asheville School represent 20 states and 15 countries. Recent graduates have been accepted to UNC-Chapel Hill, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, UCLA, Davidson, NC State, University of Virginia, Emory, Duke, Wake Forest, and Yale among others.

About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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