The Michigan Council of Women in Technology annually holds a website contest for young girls, giving them the chance to create their own websites, using coding and a series of other programs such as Photoshop. This year Lake Shore took home the win, filling up all of the top spots, and taking home a total of $2,150 in cash.
This is an all female competition, set in place due to the stigma of how few women go into web design or computer science fields. Tasha Candela, teacher of the web design class here at Lake Shore, has worked very closely for 13 weeks with the nine ladies who participated. Candela states, “I find that by entering the competition, students have a drive or purpose greater than a teacher assigning work. Not only is there a monetary award, but also I think it’s an authentic experience that can not be replicated in the classroom. This is because you’re not only giving your work to the teacher, but you are creating a product that can be looked at by over 100 people offering cash prize and internships for quality of your presentation and website.”
Before being a part of the finalist day, the web design ladies had to compose a website to be evaluated by eighty tech judges. These judges then trouble shoot, and review their behind the scenes code. Once the eighty companies have reviewed it, the ladies are then selected as finalists. Lake Shore took all of top spots with Natalie Stepanenko, senior, leading them in the Advanced Category, earning a total of $750 and an internship with Comerica Bank. Second place finalists, Hannah Watkins and Jada Baldwin, juniors, earned a total of $500. In the beginner category, Mackenzi Steinmetz and Cecilia DuPont, sophomores, won first place taking home a total of $400. Second place finalist Megan Ritz won a total of $300, lastly Mackenzie Maison and Angela Masianka earned 3rd place, earning a total of $200. Candela hopes to show the importance of this and extend the program out to other school districts.
The nine ladies took part in extracurricular activities to prepare for this competition such as visiting the Apple Store and learning how to use iMovie and working with real web designers at Seek Momentum. Megan Ritz, senior, reflects on the competition: ”It was truly a wonderful experience. I got the opportunity to meet other students who have been working on their websites, and I got to see what 13 weeks of hard work can do.”