By Victoria Mairal-Cruz, ‘12, Contributor
No CCDS students were in attendance at the TechOlympics Expo 2010, held at the Millennium Hotel downtown from Friday, March 6 to Sunday, March 8.
The event, organized by the INTERAlliance of Greater Cincinnati, a consortium of local business founded, according to its website, to “[give] local young IT talent a compelling reason to stay in southwest Ohio both for college and their careers,” did attract nearly 400 students from 39 other schools.
The weekend included competitions like “speed-texting” and Guitar Hero, as well as presentations on technology and local IT (Information Technology) careers.
A representative from INTERAlliance, Doug Arthur, came to CCDS in February and delivered an enthusiastic speech at an Upper School assembly, hoping to recruit students to attend the event.
“I believe that people didn’t go to the TechOlympics because it was based more around what the general population uses as technology. I think no one went because people who use Facebook and text aren’t gonna be interested in seeing how long it takes to hack Facebook, or how long it takes to send a text message,” said Ramona Weber, ’11.
Weber also said she felt that “People aren’t really interested in the events that take place in the TechOlympics— it’s not a key point in their lives. I think the topics didn’t appeal to CCDS students.”
INTERAlliance partnered with the University of Cincinnati, Miami University, and Northern Kentucky University, in addition to businesses including Kroger, P&G, Microsoft, Cincinnati Bell, IBM, and twenty-one others, to sponsor the TechOlympics Expo.
According to Director of Technology Robert Baker, the main focus of the event was to “get the best and brightest in Cincinnati to go to college locally, and if they don’t, they’ll eventually come back here.”
Baker said he believes INTERAlliance was trying to attract the talented students in Cincinnati, and inspire them to stick around as adults. The idea was that students go and participate, have fun, and get interested in technological career paths, and then one day work for one of the many IT-related companies in Cincinnati, including those that sponsored the event.
“I think there is a lack of interest because the majority of people in the school, I feel, find that technical professions are unappealing,” said Sai Mangu, ’13.
Many students seemed to agree that the timing of the program was inconvenient. Kevin Baxter, ’10, co-captain of the Science Olympiad and JETS teams, said he was “considering going to the TechOlympics, but it was really bad timing. I spent a lot of time preparing for [the Junior Engineering and Technical Society and Science Olympiad Regional competitions] and the Tech Olympics kind of fell to the back of my mind.”
Baxter also commented that timing was most likely the issue preventing attendance for other students as well.
“This part of the school year is so busy, with science teams, junior paper, senioritis… all converging at the same time, that the TechOlympics just seemed like more work and that was probably a turn off for most people,” he said.
“Despite our use of modern technology, it still isn’t considered “cool” to attend a technology-related event. I would go to the TechOlympics if it fell during a different weekend or if there were more events that I found interesting,” said Jordan Komnick, ‘11.
Photo courtesy of techolympics.org.