Middle Pages Editor
November 19th 2018
Raider Time has been a cherished Atholton tradition for years. Anyone would agree that the extra time given on Wednesdays is an essential part of the week. It is a time to catch up on that one homework assignment due next period, makeup that ridiculously hard English test from last week, and meet up with your friends from third block.
This year however, Raider Time is a little different. If you have been living under a rock, than you might not know that there is a new system in place to track students during Raider Time. Students go to atholtonraidertime.com and choose which class they will be going to on Wednesdays so that all students are accounted for. The twist is that neither the administrators or an outside resource made the website. In fact, the new Raider Time Sign-Up was made by Atholton’s own students.
Hana Rhee is a Business and Computer Management Systems teacher. Last year, Ms. Rhee was approached by Adrienne Nasir, Assistant Principal at Atholton, with a special idea in mind. “She knew someone who worked at Howard High School,” said Ms. Rhee. “And they had Lion’s Time. She said, ‘Could you get your students to work on this project?’”
Ms. Rhee ended up handing the project to one of her Data Structure’s classes. “The whole year they struggled, because they didn’t want to do the work. They didn’t see why they had to do the work. They were just not into it.”
Still, Ms. Rhee did not want to give up on the project just yet. If the new Raider Time Sign-Up website was not created, then Atholton was planning to revert back to an old system in which students were no longer allowed to travel to different classrooms. The thirty minutes usually given to Raider Time would now be attached to a different class each week. For example, one week, students would stay in Period 1 for an extra thirty minutes, and the next week, students would stay in Period 2 for an extra thirty minutes, and so on. “I think, personally, that [the new Raider Time Sign-Up] is so much better than taking Raider Time away,” Ms. Rhee said. “That was something that they were thinking about. Getting rid of it because Atholton wanted to be accountable for all students but we did not have a way to do that.”
Instead of letting the project go, Ms. Rhee decided to hand the project to her Computer Science Aid class. “After the AP exam last year, I was like ‘Hey, you’re inheriting this project,’ but this group loved the idea. They loved it so much that they got together over the summer and worked on it. They formed themselves into their own groups, they chose leaders, they had meetings, they assigned tasks, they followed up and they’re still writing notes. A lot more than what I expected.”
Andrew Boulle is one of the students in Ms. Rhee’s class, a third year Computer Science student, and co-lead on the Raider Time project. “When we first heard about it, we didn’t even know what was happening because we had never had to sign up for Raider Time before. So it kind of surprised all of us. But we had nothing to do after the AP test last year, so we were just happy to get something to work on instead of just having to sit there the entire class. It ended up being really fun.”
While all of the student’s in Ms. Rhee’s class had been coding and working with computer software for a while, none of them had ever done anything in relation to creating a website before. They had to teach themselves everything. Ms. Rhee said she told them to “figure it out”. Over the next few months, that is exactly what the Computer Science students did. They went to various websites such as Google, Youtube, and Codecademy to learn how to make the website. They extended their knowledge on technologies such as HTML, CSS, and PHP to really learn how to make the Sign-Up site work.
The only thing they had to go off of was the old class’s base for the website. “We inherited the original website that they had,” Andrew explained. “So they already had some structure in place that we had to extend on. It started off just changing what [the website] looked like, and then at the same time—the backend team, they improved functionality. They made the Google sign-in. They changed the sign-up functions. Just simple stuff like that.”
The project team also faced a number of challenges when trying to get the website up and running. “Every time you try to fix one thing, you create maybe two more problems,” Devin Moon, creator of the Raider Time Sign-Up logo and a member of the design team. “That can be really stressful and annoying but we eventually got it.”
Bulle said their biggest problem was figuring out how to make the website on a phone. “We were programming the whole time on a computer, so the biggest difficulty we had was transferring it from the computer to the mobile phone, because we knew that was how most students were going to be accessing it anyway. We had to change the entire way students would sign up.”
They eventually got it, and now the website is running smoothly. The team said that they are expecting a new version to come out soon. “They’re are a lot of updates coming,” said Jake Perrett, the group project leader.
“As we go, we are getting feedback from other people,” said Ms. Rhee. “And we are just constantly doing stuff to add to it. The design team is making improvements on how it looks aesthetically. We are constantly doing things to add, change, modify.”
Perrett expressed his and the other Computer Science students joy over the turnout of the project. “We’re very proud of it.”