LFA News

hack club members sitting at large table with their laptops

By Michael Xing '23

Initiative — that’s the word I’d use to describe our journey. 

Our first big project was the Lake Forest Academy “Weekend Activities” website. Bill Le ’23 and I decided to create something that would impact the school at large rather than a singular grade. We had so much fun making the “Weekend Activities” site that we continued learning about various programming frameworks and technologies over the summer.

During the pandemic we participated in many hackathons, creating applications such as 'Roomo' which is a college roommate pairer, and 'Swadeo', a book and movie sharing application. I get a lot of joy from creating something new and I wanted to share that joy with others. So, I started a HackClub and it was around this time that Ezzat Suhaime ’22 came on board.

I was busily coding when Ezzat took the initiative to ask what I was doing. I introduced him to HackClub, and he was on board in the next competition and eventually became a committed partner. The team won six out of the eight hackathons we participated in, each one having more than 400 participants made up of mainly college students and interns. The money that the team won through hackathons, investment, and contract work for startups helped the HackClub mature in making financial decisions; how to make good use of the money to create profitable businesses and marketing plans. Sleepless weekends gave way to newfound technical and business skills. Through these hackathons the team learned all sorts of practical skills such as delivering a pitch, communicating professionally, how to work under a deadline and allocate tasks, and ultimately, how to execute a good idea.

Some notable projects the HackClub has made include a musical composer that finds your favorite musical sound and taste, an environmental bounty system, an AI work monitor, a chrome extension that aids research and annotation, just to name a few.

The HackClub was able to obtain funding from 1517, a venture capital firm, for the creation of 'Spade' — a chrome extension for direct web annotation and research. In a span of two years, the team went from coding a class project to deploying applications to market.

In my opinion, the best part about coding is not so much coding itself, but about having a way to contribute something back to the world and helping communities after we’ve felt like we’ve consumed so much as students. The HackClub at LFA is a great opportunity to explore the software/business world and to turn your useful ideas into a reality. After starting HackClub, the team has been constantly trying to think of new ideas — especially in the shower— that could benefit people’s lives.