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Tech challenge taps into creativity of youth

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Posted: Friday, October 15, 2004 6:04 am

Youths from Arizona and California will compete in a number of technological challenges from graphic design to computer troubleshooting during the second Techathalon hosted on Saturday by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale.

More than 170 children and 80 volunteers are expected to pack into the Hartley and Ruth Barker Branch, 2311 N. Miller Road, Scottsdale, where the event will start with an Internet safety workshop with Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.

Teams of three will compete in four core areas of technology, said Solio Felix, director of education and technology for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale.

"We have a graphic design challenge, which is designing a business card using a graphic design program," he said.

A second challenge is "Skill Tech," in which children’s use of productivity software is measured through tests created for using programs such as Microsoft’s Word, Excel, PowerPoint and others, Felix said.

The third challenge is basically breaking down a computer and putting it back together," he said.

The last challenge is a "Battle of the Brains." The competition features questions in technology, mathematics, history, geography, language arts and science.

"This kind of event . . . really demonstrates how powerful technology is in the hands of children," said John Kelly, public affairs manager for Intel in Arizona, a corporate sponsor of the clubs. "You’ve got these incredible minds that are free to explore and to direct the technology to do things that, I’m afraid, adults are not nearly as creative with."

There are three divisions: Ages 6 to 9, 10 to 12 and 13 and older. Challenges increase in difficulty for older children, Felix said. All participants will be recognized and all participating Boys and Girls Club branches will receive banners.

The public is invited to attend the forum and watch the Techathalon. The contest is sponsored by Intel, Cox Communications, Arizona Public Service Co. and Network PC Engineering.

Computer challenge

What: Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Techathalon

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday

Where: Hartley and Ruth Barker Branch, 2311 N. Miller Road, Scottsdale

Cost: Free

Information: (480) 947-6331 or

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