Computer whizzes compete for awards

Published 5:24 pm Thursday, March 8, 2007

Trinity Episcopal Day School doesn’t have many computers with which Carson Cruise and Michael Scudiero haven’t fiddled.

The two seniors have been in computer classes since eighth-grade and have a knack and an interest in making the machines work.

They can rewire them, reprogram them and in general keep them craning.

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So the two teens were natural candidates for the Mississippi College Science and Mathematics Tournament’s computer science contest last month.

And they made their school proud. Scudiero, 17, brought home the first place medal; Cruise, 18, the second place one.

“They have insatiable curiosity and are critical thinkers,” computer science teacher Claudia Stephens said.

“They are self-motivated.”

And it’s the self-motivation that has driven Scudiero and Cruise to learn more about computers, they said.

“I tinker with a laptop at home,” Scudiero said. “And there’s a room in the middle school where we take apart computers and program new ones.”

The MC tournament pits more than 1,400 of the state’s students against each other in a variety of tests, including biology, chemistry and mathematics.

The students take two, one-hour written exams.

The computer science test included questions on binary, java and other programming codes.

“It was overwhelming,” Scudiero said.

“When you open it up and there was a page of code.”

Neither teen is currently planning to go into a computer-driven major in college, though.

Scudiero is considering accounting, and Cruise is undecided.

Both students still spend time working on the school’s computers though, devoting time after school to keep things running.