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News Release: Westwood Students Score Top Computing Competition Marks in Canada

L-R: Francois Marais, Soham Arvicar, and Saptarshi BhattacheryaL-R: Francois Marais, Soham Arvicar, and Saptarshi Bhattacherya

(Fort McMurray, Alberta, November 29, 2018) Fort McMurray Public School District (FMPSD) congratulates Soham Arvicar, Francois Marais, and Saptarshi Bhattacherya, who scored top marks on University of Waterloo’s Canadian Computing Competition in Canada! All three students received 90/90 on the daunting coding competition held last week - hosted by the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing.

Soham, 12,  is in grade seven, and Francois, 15, and Saptarshi, 14, are in grade 10. All three took the 45-minute test for the first time, which comprised of 15 multiple choice computer science questions focused on problem-solving.

“The reason it was only moderately difficult for us was because we were so well-prepared. This speaks to the calibre of courses at Westwood, and FMPSD, and how Mr. Said El Mejdani, our teacher always supports us by not diluting the material,” enthused Francois, who takes an AP (Advanced Placement) Computer Science class.

“This is also why our Westwood graduates get jobs at Microsoft and other prestigious companies. It is now known as a very good computer science school. As students, we are encouraged to collaborate even when we do individual work. It inspires us to improve, and get better at computer science. Our teachers trust us to do as well as adults. We are jumping to the big leagues, because there is the expectation that we’ll rise to the challenge,” added Francois.

Saptarshi, also an AP Computer Science student, agrees.

“Getting a perfect score has motivated me to go further with Math and Computer Science,” he said.

For Soham taking the test meant challenging himself. He heard about it during the after-school Robotics club.

“I’m really proud of myself, and happy. I knew I could do it. It’s great to have Westwood and FMPSD give this opportunity to junior high students as well,” he shared.

Said El Mejdani, Computer Science teacher at Westwood is proud of his students.

“I am extremely amazed to see these three students placed in Canada's top list for the Waterloo Coding Competition, which is a problem solving contest with a focus on computational and logical thinking. Computational thinking complements critical thinking as a way of solving problems. These students started training for the competition in September. Seeing 20 students receive the Distinction Award from University of Waterloo is a wow moment for me as a teacher,” enthused El Mejdani.

"Congratulations to our three students. We are proud of them, and the excellent programming offered at Westwood,” noted Brendan Toner, Acting Principal, Westwood Community High School.

“Mr. El Mejdani continues to instill the skills and confidence to code at the highest levels in his students. They are thriving under his leadership and the results of the recent Waterloo Coding Competition show this. We are very fortunate to have such a passionate teacher like Said who shares his love for coding with his students, who in turn, get excellent results in the field at the national level,” Toner added.

Superintendent Doug Nicholls congratulated the students and staff.

“Westwood Community High School is synonymous with excellence, and the results prove it. Congratulations Soham, Francois and Saptarshi. We are delighted to facilitate this journey of high achievement for you. We know your hard work will take you far.”

Congratulations gentlemen!

For more information, please contact:

Kiran Malik-Khan

Communications Manager

Fort McMurray Public School District

W: 780-788-8009

C: 780-880-7666

kiran.malikkhan@fmpsd.ab.ca