What we saw at the Yarl Geek Challenge Junior Season 5

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Shout-out from Yarlpaanam to our readers out there. While we were busy with Startup Weekend Jaffna, a few from our team split to have a look at what was happening with Yarl Geek Challenge Junior Season 5. We are pretty sure that our readers know what Yarl Geek Challenge is, yet to make sure you get it right, let’s have a quick recap about it. The Yarl Geek Challenge is a competition conducted by an IT community called Yarl IT Hub.

To encourage IT based startups at Jaffna is the goal of this community. In order to achieve its goal, it conducts various programs, in which Yarl Geek Challenge Junior comes in. The competition is done in two formats. Yarl Geek Challenge Junior is actually for school students who are interested in using IT to invent solutions for daily problems. Whereas, the Yarl Geek Challenge senior is for school leavers with IT based business ideas.

Although the Finale of Yarl Geek Challenge Junior Season 5 has taken place last weekend, which was 25th and 26th of June 2016, the competition was already underway when June began. On June 11th, Yarl IT Hub decided to choose the teams that would be eligible to compete in the finals. The Zonal Level competitions took place on 11th of June at 5 different locations in the North: Jaffna, Puloly, Mullaithivu, Punguditheevu, and Vavuniya. From the 150 applications received, around 40 teams from 12 zones were selected to compete in the finals.

Yarl Geek Challenge Junior
Image credits: Kugarajeevan Sivapalan

This gave the competitors two weeks’ time to develop and polish their projects.  The 25th and 26th of June were the chosen dates, and Kokuvil Hindu College was the chosen venue for Yarl IT Hub members to make the finals of Yarl Geek Challenge Junior season 5 juniors happen. Being two-day event, the first day was allocated for mentoring sessions. On that day, the teams worked with the mentors and polish up their innovation and were taught the way of presenting their ideas to the judges. Later that evening the teams were asked to demonstrate their pitching to the ‘acting judges’ as well.

26th of June: The D-day for the competitors. Everyone at the venue was nervous and quite excited. Every team presented their idea in a unique way. This time, we were able to observe quite a lot of Arduino based hardware as solutions to day-to-day problems faced. Also, the rest of them were websites and mobile app solutions. It was quite a sight to see those young ones working together to bring some technical solutions to the problems faced by the community.

Following the lunch break which followed the pitching of the 40 teams, we got ready to know what we are were waiting for: the results. The wave of tension along with the pin drop silent was all that we felt there. Since Thushyanthan likes to beat around the bush, he asked a participant, then a mentor, and finally a teacher to express their feelings about YGC.

The winners of Yarl Geek Challenge Junior Season 5

Before getting straight to the point, Thushyanthan wanted the participants to get their certificates, and they were handed over by the mentors of the each team. Following the parade of participating teams, four teams were asked to come up to the stage. No one, except Thushyanthan, knew why. Thushyanthan asked the teams to express their feelings about being at Yarl Geek Challenge Junior, and not getting any certificates. As each team finished expressing themselves.  “It looks like it is time to reveal the truth,” he silently let the cat out of the bag.

The Season’s overall winners were a team from Vavuniya Madya Maha Vidyalayam. The team has designed an Arduino based hardware called “Library Management System”.  It is one of the commonest issues at libraries. To solve the problem, these youngsters have designed a device which would let a bulb light up in the shelf where the book you are searching for is. The only thing you have to do is, search it on a PC, and the device would let you know. “Half the time, we couldn’t find the book we want at our library. They are mostly misplaced. This issue made us thought of innovating the “Library Management System,” said Kajanan from the team.

Yarl Geek Challenge Junior
The Vavuniya Madya Maha Vidyalayam team (Image credits: Kugarajeevan Sivapalan)

“Pets love to sleep under parked vehicles. Yet, when the driver decides to take the car out, it turns into an accident if the pet is still under the wheel. This could even happen to naughty kids who love to play around the vehicles, therefore we chose to find a solution”, said the team from Karainagar Hindu College that has won the best hardware award. “We have designed it in a way where the device would send a signal to the driver inside if there is something under the vehicle,” the team further explained.

Yarl Geek Challenge Junior
The team from Karainagar Hindu College (Image credits: Kugarajeevan Sivapalan)

There is this one man army from St. Xavier’s College, Mannar who has won the best web app award at YGC5. He has designed a cloud computing platform. This platform he has designed has got features like personal Locker, notifications, and messaging systems, unlike Google drive and dropbox. Also, you can share files through FTP, and with the help of Ajax, a technology he has used, you could access a folder without refreshing.

Yarl Geek Challenge Junior
The one man army from St. Xavier’s College, Mannar (Image credits: Kugarajeevan Sivapalan)

Finally, the award for the Best mobile app was won by the team from Hartley College.  These guys have designed a solution called “office mode” which would turn your mobile into silent mode, and send auto-replies if a call or text is received when the mode is activated.

Yarl Geek Challenge Junior
The team from Hartley College (Image credits: Kugarajeevan Sivapalan)

Having announced the teams that won the titles of the season, Thusyanthan announced the winners at each zone too. And, the season 5 of Yarl Geek Challenge Junior came to an end with a traditional final photo shoot with mentors, organizers and competitors. As the teams were taking individual photos, we managed to get hold of a few mentors and participants to share their experience at Yarl Geek Challenge Junior season 5.

“I think this competition is something beyond victory or defeat; this is more about learning and sharing our knowledge with others. Furthermore, this is a platform for us to bring out our talents in IT sector,” expressed a competitor. “We have been taught HTML and CSS at school, yet it is at YGC, we have learned about PHP and Java. Our team is participating under Web app category, yet we had a glimpse of Hardware devices by peeking into other competitors, and we are quite intrigued about Arduino and other technologies used in hardware and robotics,” said the competitor.

“This is my first time working with the teams. It is an amazing experience, and I have learned a lot from these young people. When I was at their age, I never had similar chances. I guess that it was the same with the others of my age too. The students are very creative, and they are very keen to enrich their knowledge to use new technology. I am glad that I am a part of YGC,” stated a mentor at Yarl Geek Challenge Junior season 5.

With that, we wind up our story about Yarl Geek Challenge Junior season 5 for juniors, yet this is not the end of the season. There will be a competition soon for the university geeks out there. Make sure you keep an eye on us to know what else is happening around Yarl IT Hub community, and at Yarl Geek Challenge.

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