F.R. Haythorne Junior High students compete in a hackathon hosted in the library at Bev Facey Community High.

F.R. Haythorne Junior High students compete in a hackathon hosted in the library at Bev Facey Community High.

Sherwood Park, AB. — Close to 70 students from F.R. Haythorne Junior High put their computational thinking skills to the test at a hackathon hosted by Bev Facey Community High last month. The hackathon involved challenges related to mathematics, programming and cybersecurity.

At the event, computer science students in grades 7-9 competed in teams to tackle two activities. “There were pretty neat challenges presented and we cooperated with others to achieve success,” says Kayden Logan, a Grade 9 student at F.R. Haythorne Junior High.

The first challenge was a cyber defence and data science activity called a data labyrinth—similar to a virtual escape room—with cybersecurity questions taken from Version 1 of the Boss of the Security Operations Center competition. Students were challenged to filter and visualize data from a fictional cyber attack to track down information about the attackers. In the scenario, a hacker called “po1s0n1vy” had compromised the CEO of Wayne Enterprises’ blog website named “imnotreallybatman.com.”

The second activity challenged students to use Python code to draw geometric shapes with turtles, and teachers awarded points for completed challenges.

“An event like this fosters collaboration and fun competition, while introducing students to many important skills in computer science and mathematics,” says David Hay, one of the organizers of the event and a teacher at Bev Facey Community High. “I think one of the best parts of education is to introduce students to things they don’t know they love yet. This could be an introduction to a career path they want to pursue, or students can use these skills in a variety of classes, jobs and hobbies.”

As technology progresses at an incredible speed, students in Elk Island Public Schools are learning how best to protect themselves online and be active, creative and ethical participants in a globally networked society. Cybersecurity is a top priority for the Division, where both students and staff learn digital literacy, critical thinking skills and the best practices to keep their information secure.

Kaelan Parsons, a Grade 9 student at F.R. Haythorne Junior High, gained valuable insights from the event. “I loved the problem-solving and learned a lot more about Python.”


Elk Island Public Schools is one of Alberta’s largest school divisions, serving approximately 17,750 students in 42 schools. We are proud to be an integral part of our communities, including Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Vegreville, Strathcona and Lamont counties, and the western portion of the County of Minburn.



For more information contact:
Laura McNabb, Director, Communication Services, EIPS 780-417-8204 cell 780-405-4902