Edmonds-Woodway students awarded scholarships following museum website work

Students in the Edmonds-Woodway High School computer science class demonstrate the website they designed for the annual Edmonds Scarecrow Festival.  L to R, Norton Pengra, Andrew Beasley, Parker McKillup.

Students in the Edmonds-Woodway High School computer science class demonstrate the website they designed for the annual Edmonds Scarecrow Festival. From left: Norton Pengra, Andrew Beasley and Parker McKillup.

Two Edmonds-Woodway High School computer whiz kids will have a little extra help this fall when they start their freshman year, thanks to scholarships awarded Tuesday by the Edmonds Historical Museum.

“It was all part of our class project to help the Museum design a website for the upcoming Edmonds Scarecrow Festival,” said Shay Hastler, 14-year veteran computer teacher with the Edmonds School District, and instructor for the computer science class offered through E-W’s International Baccalaureate program.

The Scarecrow Festival is an annual harvest-season community event sponsored by the Edmonds Historical Museum, where local businesses and individuals build and display scarecrows throughout the Edmonds community. The first Scarecrow Festival, held last year, was an overwhelming success, and left the community clamoring for more.

A big part of the festival is the opportunity for the public to vote for their favorite scarecrows in various categories — scariest, most creative, etc. — via a website. The winners receive gifts and recognition in the community.

Last year’s website was put together quickly and left much to be desired, museum organizers noted.

“We wanted a user-friendly website where the public could see photos of all the scarecrows and cast votes in the various categories,” said Museum board member and project coordinator Dave Buelow. “Last year’s website was built in just a few weeks, and while it did the job, we’re looking for an expanded site with more functionality this year.”

While the entire class worked on the project, two students’ efforts and creativity were of such high caliber that they were recommended by Hastler to receive the awards, two $750 scholarships. The recipients, Phoung-An NguyenDo and Markos Mezbebu, worked on developing the backend database and writing code in PHP Hypertext Programming language, the preferred tool for modern web development. Both are seniors and planning to attend the University of Washington where they will study — what else — computer science.

Edmonds Museum Board President Bill Lambert presents two $750 scholarships to Phoung-An NguyenDo, and Markos Mezebu in recognition of their excellent work on building the 2014 Scarecrow Festival website.

Edmonds Museum Board President Bill Lambert presents two $750 scholarships to Phoung-An NguyenDo, and Markos Mezebu in recognition of their excellent work on building the 2014 Scarecrow Festival website. Also in the photo, computer science teacher Shay Hastler.

“I wish we could give everyone here a scholarship,” said Bill Lambert, Museum Board President, as he handed out the awards. “The entire class put in tremendous effort. I’m simply awed by their combined skill and creativity.”

The Edmonds Scarecrow Festival is one of several community events sponsored by the Edmonds Historical Museum. Others include the Spring Garden Market, the Edmonds Summer Market, and the annual Heritage Days Banquet and Auction. The Summer Market, now in its 20th season, opened last weekend. It runs Saturdays from June until October along 5th Avenue North and Bell Street, directly adjacent to the Museum.

The Museum, housed in Edmonds’ recently-renovated historic Carnegie Library, is open year-round between 1-4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, and $2 for students. Learn more at the Museum on its website.

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