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Blue Mantis Announces Winners of First-Ever DeKalb County Technology Hackathon for District's Middle School and High School Students

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DECATUR, GA, March 11, 2024 – The DeKalb County School District and Blue Mantis, a leading digital strategy and services provider delivering managed services, cybersecurity, and cloud solutions, are proud to announce the winners of the 2024 Technology Hackathon, held Saturday, March 9 at the William Bradley Bryant Center.

The Hackathon, the brainchild of Monika Davis, the Chief Information Officer of DeKalb County School District and Jay Pasteris, the Chief Information Officer and Chief Information Security Officer at Blue Mantis.  The event, which featured three teams of three students per team from several middle and high schools in the district, provided a platform for students to learn new skills, network with others in the industry, and showcase their talents.

Davis and her team from the District partnered with Blue Mantis to organize, host and judge the competition. 

Each of the teams presented their projects to a panel of judges including Blue Mantis’ Jay Pasteris and David Knox. Prizes awarded for the best projects and they include three scholarships at $3,000 per student along with MacBook Air laptops, iPad tablets, and Apple Watches. Also, iPads and Apple Watches were given to teachers overseeing the event.

The first place winners of the inaugural student hackathon were “Team Inland Taipan” consisting of Matthew Becerra, Rafa Rutherford, and Saketh Velagaleti. These three junior high school students did not know each other prior to the hackathon but became good friends as they collaborated on a project to improve their school’s online student web portal with integrated text-to-speech and other user interface enhancements.

Team Inland Taipan (Saketh Velagaleti, Rafa Rutherford, and Matthew Becerra) present their winning project to the judges at the inaugural DeKalb County School District’s Hackathon.

 “Our objectives for the Hackathon were to encourage and promote the development of advanced technology skills through a friendly competition to challenge DeKalb County students to aspire to become digital and innovation leaders,” said Davis. “I know we succeeded because the students succeeded and we thank all participants, as well as our teachers, volunteers and panel of judges. Thanks also to Blue Mantis for their generous support of this competition.”

 “I’ve held hackathons for over fifteen years now, and this was my favorite hackathon I’ve done yet,” said Pasteris. “We were very impressed by the quality of the projects submitted. We congratulate our winners and all participants.”

About Blue Mantis

Blue Mantis is a leading strategic digital technology services provider with a 30+ year history of successfully helping clients achieve business modernization by applying next-generation technologies including managed services, cybersecurity and cloud. Headquartered in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the company provides digital technology services and strategic guidance to ensure clients quickly adapt and grow through automation and innovation. Blue Mantis partners with more than 1,200 leading mid-market and enterprise organizations in a multitude of vertical industries and is backed by leading private equity firm, Abry Partners.

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