SSHS Student Makes Top 10 in Coding Contest | Guam News

Paul Coliflores, a student at Simon Sanchez High School, has big plans for his future as an entrepreneur. At 17, he stepped out of his comfort zone to enter the “Your Voice is Power” contest for the second time and cracked the Top 10 in the first round.

The coding contest revolves around the world of computing through real-world exploration of how music, coding, and entrepreneurship can be tools to advance racial justice.

The competition through Amazon Future Engineer was designed in collaboration with the Yellow Association for Educational Equity. Students channel their project-based learning into an original remix of Pharrell’s song “Entrepreneur” — a celebration of black entrepreneurship — using Python, a computer programming language. New this year, students can also write code to remix and include the songs “Underdog” by Alicia Keys and “New Normal” by Khalid as part of their original creations.

Coliflores chose to explore Pharell’s “Entrepreneur” and Alicia Keys’ “Underdog,” after feeling like the underdog in the competition. He started remixing Pharell’s song during last year’s competition. Remixing acoustic instrumentals to electronic dubstep earned him a Top Ten spot last year.

“Last year, I didn’t know much about the competition. I just wanted to join him for fun. So I used a mirage of electronic sounds and just tried it, it was chaotic and I had fun with it. I turned to a set of really confusing songs, all mixed together and making them sound like electronic dub,” Coliflores said.

While the song earned him a spot in the Top 10, he admitted the message – to enjoy the journey, needed work.

“This year, however, I had my post well prepared and I’m exploring Pharrell’s ‘Entrepreneur’ and Alicia Keys’ ‘Underdog’. They both have an uplifting genre and this year I’ve remixed them into a hard trap which is the opposite of optimistic because it makes you feel like a bad guy,” he said.

This year’s competition focuses on promoting equality, using this theme. Coliflores dropped different beats to make their message clear.

“I made it sound like a hard trap where there are parts where he can feel good with two shoes on and feel good and then after the words there’s a bass drop or a hard drop where the song turns into a complete diabolical trap,” said Coliflores who used the opposition bat to signify the ups and downs of life.

“I wanted to clarify my message that sometimes life can give you the worst of the worst, but if you persevere you will see that there is always a rainbow after the storm and whatever bad happens is also good that follows”, Coliflores mentioned.

This year, the remix brought Coliflores back to its original plan for the competition.

“Last year when I met with the creators of the contest, I initially said that I wanted to remix it through hard trap because it’s my favorite and what I love. This year I decided to go all out, trying to remix it into hard trap. Right now it sounds really good, but I plan to make it extremely better in the future,” he said.

Coliflores is a top 10 finalist in the first round, earning the spot reignited the excitement he felt in his first year of competition.

“It’s unreal”

“The first year I was in the Top 10, I was like what happens is unreal, especially because it was not what I expected. says Coliflores. “It’s an international competition in the Americas, if you were to look at it from my perspective, it’s like I’m the underdog. I come from Guam, which is little talked about in America and sometimes even forgotten. I felt I had shown them something we were capable of.

The competition is based on civil rights and he hopes that one day Guam will be recognized. Reaching the Top 10 last year gave him the confidence boost he needed to compete again this year.

“This year, it was like before, I worked hard. It was only thanks to my efforts that I was able to reach the Top 10 last year, it was like a chance. My love for coding was long before that, but after the first time I won, I felt like my interest had just exploded,” he said.

In fact, he wants to pursue a career in the IT field and has big plans to become an entrepreneur.

“I will try to start a business. The principle of the competition was to make future engineers. He said, “I plan to be an entrepreneur in terms of what I want to achieve one day and if I win this competition, I can achieve that dream faster.”

Although his business idea is a secret, he shared that it would be related to IT.

“I plan to start developing a product. It’s in IT, but I can’t really get into it,” he said. “I hope that if my voice is heard in this competition, I hope that one day the Guam Department of Education can look at the talent pool we have in IT. They can expand it by funding more computer courses in other schools, because if I could win, other schools can also participate in a world-class competition. I hope that GDOE will develop the field of computer science because there are lots of potential here.

He plans to follow the principles of AP A and AP computing next year.

Coliflores and her classmate, Noah Abrenilla, will advance to the second round. At the end of the competition, five students will win a $5,000 scholarship or grant to start a business. Grand prize winners will be announced in August.

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