Denver School Dominates In Fierce Lockheed Coding Challenge

May. 18, 2023
Students pose with award

Just like the Nuggets flex with the Lakers, some local teenagers bring the heat with their mad math skills.

No basketballs. Just coding with Java, Python and C#.

Each year, Lockheed Martin hosts Code Quest, a computer programming competition where engineers and computer programmers create challenging problems for high school teams around the world.

Career Education Center Early College, the only DPS high school at the event on April 22, beat out some favorites to take 2nd & 3rd place against 32 Colorado teams. Here are photos from the event.

“You could see smoke coming out of the kids’ ears,” said coach Dr. Jen Moriarity, known as “Dr. Mo.”

It’s intense. Three students per team share a computer, frantically scribbling on scratch paper to solve as many problems as they can in 2.5 hours. Check out this video from a previous competition.

Dr. Mo teaches video game programming, a hybrid of math and coding, at CEC. She’s so good at what she does, she was selected at the national level for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teachers PAEMST in 2017. She’s giving them real world STEM skills.

“This is so great for our kiddos to see that environment and picture themselves in that environment,” said Dr. Mo.

Due to high security protocols at Lockheed Martin in Littleton, no spectators, cell phones or other electronic devices were allowed. Teams had to share a special phone number with family members in case they had to reach them during the event. Coaches watched nervously through a glass wall.

Dr. Mo’s teams get better each year and she has first place on her mind.

“We’re gonna get ‘em next year.”


If you’d like to talk to Dr. Mo and her students about how they navigated this mathematical pressure cooker, let me know!

Wendy Brockman
DPS Media Relations Manager