Students from across North Texas gathered at The Potter's House in Dallas for the first day of the T.D. Jakes STEAM Academy Hackathon.
"This is a bridge I want you to cross and have a good time crossing over it," Bishop T.D. Jakes told students. "It's gonna change your life."
STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. The hackathon is a partnership between the T.D. Jakes Foundation, the Dallas Mavericks, and Goldman Sachs. It is designed to open doors for students and help them make connections.
"One great idea, one small opportunity, can change the trajectory of not only one of these students but their family," T.D. Jakes Foundation President and CEO Hattie Hill said. "It changes your community."
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On Monday, students worked in teams to build towers out of pasta, string, tape, and balance a marshmallow on top.
"We're all having different parts and different ideas to put this together," Duncanville High School student Kyla Thomas said. "If you don't cooperate with your team in life, then you can't really get stuff done," DeSoto High School graduate Alton McVay said.
Over the next two weeks, students attending the STEAM academy in-person and online in countries around the world will be given real-world problems, and work together to find solutions.
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"There's gonna be moments in life when you're gonna want to give up," Thomas said. "But you're gonna be like that marshmallow to where you make it to the top above those bumpy roads."
The winning team at the end of the two-week hackathon gets box seat tickets to see the Dallas Mavericks.