Meet The Self Taught High School Programmers Launching Hack The Heat


Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 12.52.34 PMHack The Heat — a 24 hour hackathon coming up this Saturday, 12 noon at The Commons in Excelsior, is a first of its kind for students ages 12-18.

Organized by friends Luke Igel & Will Walcher, the inaugural event was born out of the desire to host a local hackathon geared towards students like themselves during the the dog days of summer.

Within a few months of conception, they had secured the name, space, sponsors, and enough participation to get things off the ground; the event has about 25 registered so far with a lineup of mentors and judges involved.

Both are self taught programmers, considering that formal education isn’t in the curriculum at Providence Academy.

They’ve been doing their own thing since middle school, learning to code through trial and error, applied through participation in the FIRST Robotics League , team #4511 – aka Power Aplified.

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 1.02.07 PM“We’ve really had to learn everything we know so far outside of school,” says Walcher (left), an Orono resident going into his senior year now.

“Hackathons like this are especially great for students who want to meet others and learn new skills that they can’t get in school yet.”

Walcher describes his interests as blend of software development and electrical engineering, with ambitions of moving to the West Coast post-graduation.

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 12.12.53 PMIgel (right), who taught himself Java, Javascript and Python, has his first mobile app currently in beta testing.

The Chanhassen native sees himself pursuing programming, physics and economics in the long term — also out west due to both the weather and educational factors.

Despite their likely depatarture from Minnesota, the duo believe that this could become an annual event if the interest is strong.


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