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The Student News Site of CFHS

The Lantern

The Student News Site of CFHS

The Lantern

The Student News Site of CFHS

The Lantern

Youth coding success

A Cannon Falls Coding team made it to the playoffs in the youth coding league.
The+Cannon+Falls+Youth+Coding+League+poses+for+a+team+photo+before+winning+the+finals.
Amy Dombeck
The Cannon Falls Youth Coding League poses for a team photo before winning the finals.

Coding is an essential part of the world we live in today. It creates the technology we use. People can learn to code in many ways, such as taking an online class or attending a school that focuses on coding. There are many opportunities to learn coding, but there is a way that Cannon Falls middle schoolers can learn how to. It’s a program called YCL.

YCL is the abbreviation for Youth Coding League, a coding competition for middle school students in participating schools around the United States. It is a program for 5th through 8th graders in over 90 schools across the country. Each YCL team in a school has a coach. Cannon Falls’ coach is Amy Dombeck, the 7th-grade Tech teacher. “It was great to have a dozen students participate in the first YCL season at Cannon Falls. There were 5 students who chose to do playoffs, with Owen Harmsen and Van Webb’s project getting through the finals,” says Mrs. Dombeck.

The playoffs are a big part of YCL. The regular season teaches the participants how to use the programs, and they can win big prizes including money in the playoffs. During the regular season, everyone gets rewards depending on their school team rank, but in the playoffs, one team of 1-2 players from a school will compete with one team from another school. Mrs. Dombeck described what the playoffs were. “In Playoffs, students were asked to apply what they learned to solve a problem. To use technology in a better way in our community.”

The participants for this year’s playoffs are Oscar McManus, Van Webb, and Owen Harmsen in 8th grade, and Abe Polson and Eddie Otterness in 7th grade. In the playoffs, they could work with a partner or work alone. There were three teams, and one team ended up in the finals, which was Webb and McManus.

McManus and Webb named themselves Cannon Falls Team Black and used over 500 lines of code. They won second place in the community favorite category thanks to students in the school and community voting for them. When asked how he felt about winning, Webb said “I am very happy I won. I have never won a prize as big as the one I did, and I’m very happy the community came together and voted on our scratch.” 

The school’s YCL program is a great way to code and have fun in middle school. Brenna McCarthy said, “Mrs. Dombeck is really nice, and a great coach.” YCL is an entertaining program, and no prior experience with coding is required. Anyone interested in coding should look into YCL.