Three GSA students win Pioneer Prize software competition
The Weekly Packet|July 08, 2021
BLUE HILL—Pioneer Prize 2021 judges announced this week the winners of the fourth annual Pioneer Prize software competition for high school students on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle.
TODD GILMOUR

“This year’s competitors really embodied the ideals of the Pioneer Prize: Whether they’d ever coded before or not, everyone pushed their own boundaries of excellence and grew new skills that really advantaged them—and they did all of this in addition to their school curriculum,” said Lee Buck, co-founder of the competition, in a press release. “It was difficult to choose this year’s winner because we had two students who were exceptionally enthusiastic, devoted to learning a ‘new craft’ and they presented well in their submissions.” Buck also served as a competition judge this year along with responsive-web designer Michelle Keyo and software developer Scott Miller, who is also on the Blue Hill Select Board.

The first prize cash award of $3,000 went to Ian Bowden, age 15, of George Stevens Academy. Bowden conceptualized and wrote the code for a program that could auto-pilot a basic, store-bought drone using artificial intelligence for navigation. “This is Ian’s second year competing in the Pioneer Prize, and this year he really took his thinking and coding skills to the next level,” said his Pioneer Prize mentor, James Rutter.

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