How to run a high school hackathon

06 Feb 2019

I founded and organized hackPHS, a fairly large (200+ hacker) high school a hackathon at Princeton High School. I started it my junior year, as MLH Local Hack Day (only around 50 hackers for 12 hours), and then expanded the event to over 200 hackers for 24 hours. This was a massive undertaking, and I definitely couldn’t have done it without the fantastic people at MLH. Their hackathon organizers guide (guide.mlh.io) and their peer groups were phenomenal, but since most hackathons are collegiate, I thought it would be a good idea to write some things I learned about organizing high school hackathons specifically. If you’re looking to start, or organize, a high school hackathon, definitely go through mlh in any way possible, or if you have any specific questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. The following tips and tricks are just general guides and may not apply to every situation, use your best judgment when making any and all decisions.

General:

Financial:

Outreach: Just as a heads up, this is the one subteam I didn’t really do to much work for, so it’s going to be very brief.

Logistics: Logistics is my absolute favorite part of hackathon organization, but it is a lot of random, disconnected information, so prepare for some discombobulation in this part. Food:

Team: This is honestly the most important. Your team is who are going to make your event happen, but working with them and being a good leader and making sure everyone is working to their potential is extremely challenging. I’m going to go a bit light on this section because I have another post coming soon which will be entirely on team management and leadership, so this section will be only hackathon specific information.