Portlaoise student named overall winner of Google Call to Code

9 Dec 2015

It’s a proud day for 14-year-old Caolan Fleming from St Mary’s CBS in Portlaoise, Co Laois, who has beaten 39 other students from Ireland to win the top prize at this year’s Google Call to Code competition.

The Google Call to Code competition is one of the most highly-regarded in the nation for encouraging secondary school students based in Ireland aged 13 to 18 to tackle both logic puzzles and programming tasks designed for junior level and senior level cycles.

On 25 November, the first round saw all the applicants battle it out to see who were the best at solving the problems posed by Google’s engineers, which culminated in the selection of 40 finalists to make it to today’s (9 December) event at Google’s EMEA HQ in Dublin.

Google has said the response to this year’s competition was “remarkable”, with more than 1,500 students registered by more than 400 teachers to represent their schools.

Also noted was the close parity between male and female applicants – achieving a 46:54 female-to -male ratio, with 70pc of participants coming from outside of Dublin.

Helping to encourage students to study computer science

Along with Fleming being chosen as the overall winner, 18-year-old Nebojsa Cvetkovic from The High School, Rathgar was chosen as the winner of the senior cycle group, with both winners receiving a new Chromebook.

Prizes were also awarded to two teachers for their role in promoting computer science among their students.

The winners chosen were Kate Leahy from Árdscoil na Trionóide, Athy, Co Kildare, who had the most competing students in the senior category, and Maeve Cormican from Carrick-on-Shannon Community School, Co Leitrim, who had the highest number of competing students in the junior category.

Congratulating the finalists and the prize winners, Niall Murphy of Google Engineering said: “Congratulations to Caolan and Nebojsa on their achievement today and also to Maeve and Kate, as we know teachers play a vital role in computer science education.

“Over 400 teachers registered their students from 300 schools across Ireland to take part in Call to Code 2015, which shows that competitions like this can help to incentivise participation and help teachers to encourage students to study computer science.”

Coding image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey
By Colm Gorey

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic. He joined in January 2014 and covered AI, IoT, science and anything that will get us to Mars quicker. When not trying to get his hands on the latest gaming release, he can be found lost in a sea of Wikipedia articles on obscure historic battles and countries that don't exist any more, or watching classic Simpsons episodes far too many times to count.

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