5/1/2013 8:26:00 AM Windom students take first place in SDSU contest
Jonathan Smith, a Windom Area High School science teacher, decided it was a contest that might be right up the alley for three of his computer programming students.
It was only a $40 fee to enter South Dakota State University's Program Design Competition 2013, and even if they didn't do anything in the competition, it would be a fun, practical challenge and a chance to put their computer skills to the test.
Instead, the three students - seniors Ryan Helmoski and Nicholas Wolter, and junior Christian Berg - wowed a panel of SDSU professors and took top honors among 17 teams from schools around the Tri-State area.
Teams from Sioux Falls Washington and Sioux Falls Lincoln, schools that offer computer programming/science classes, finished second and third, respectively.
"It was fun to watch them work," Smith said of the team he assembled. "I was impressed with what they did."
The trio and their instructor each received medals and a plaque with their names engraved on it. If any of the three chooses to enroll in computer science or engineering at SDSU, each also would receive a $2,000 scholarship, administered over two years.
While Helmoski already committed to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for computer science, Wolter will collect the scholarship since he will be attending SDSU in the fall for computer engineering. Because Berg is just a junior, he will have access to the same scholarship should he choose to attend SDSU in 2014.
"It was really unique working with a group," Wolter said. "We've all done programming ourselves, making smaller things, but it was a lot of fun working as a group."
And they obviously were pretty good at it.
For much more on the team's victory, see the story on the Education page in the May 1 issue of the Cottonwood County Citizen on newsstands today.