Hack Club

Jason Antwi-Appah, 15

Leander, Texas

Jason, 15, had taken years of computer science courses in his Texas public school, but never built and shipped a project until he joined Hack Club. He started with something small in the summer of 2020: trying out Visual Studio Code and building a personal website with HTML and CSS. Then, he built a tool (a simple IDE) that allowed other Hack Club students to customize their Hack Club Scrapbooks, and a Hack Club staff member helped him deploy it on Vercel.

“Seeing people actually not only acknowledging something you made, but actually using it was nice.” He began to dream of his next project.

He always had wanted to build something with hardware, but didn’t have the money. Through a Hack Club grant of up to $250, he bought a Raspberry Pi. Using his school's 3D printer, he built a case for it. His mom (nervously) volunteered her iPad, and Jason wrote a NodeJS server that runs on the Raspberry Pi and sideloads apps onto the iPad.

Jason constantly hit bumps and used Hack Club’s online community to chat late into the night with teenagers in Europe and India. His parents feared he would “fry” their devices, but in the end he didn’t. However, the iPad isn’t really supplying enough electricity to the Pi, so he’s 'working on that'.

Hack Club is awesome. Genuinely I’ve met some of the best people. Like, it’s not even how smart they are, or that they’re really nice to talk to. They actually don’t sit around and wait for things to happen; they do it themselves.