Senior superlatives go digital

Ridgefield High School junior Daniel Salciccioli  designed a website for students at the high school to vote on senior superlatives. He completed the site in two weeks this winter. —Janet Salciccioli photo

Ridgefield High School junior Daniel Salciccioli designed a website for students at the high school to vote on senior superlatives. He completed the site in two weeks this winter. —Janet Salciccioli photo

Remember senior superlatives?

Those pesky, popularity-ridden titles supplemented into yearbooks at the end of the year awarded the star jock and the blonde bombshell with a gluttony of recognition and added to the already bloated confidence of a few, while neglecting to praise the majority?

Well, have no fear — the start of a new era in voting for superlatives has arrived, thanks to Ridgefield High School junior Daniel Salciccioli.

Mr. Salciccioli created a website in February and March after he met with Jennifer DeJulio, a history teacher at the high school and the senior class adviser, who counted the superlative ballots by hand last year.

“Ms. DeJulio wasn’t sure if it could be done and wanted me to try it out to see if it would work,” he recalled. “She thought it would be super difficult, but it was actually really easy for me.”

Mr. Salciccioli said the website took him only two weeks to create.

Ms. DeJulio calls Mr. Salciccioli a “visionary” with “natural website design skills.”

“I don’t understand that stuff at all, and he created this awesome website with complete ease — it blew me away,” she said. “Last year, it took us several hours to count the votes, so we are really thankful for his help.”

The way the site works is a voter is given a login code to sign in. Once logged in the site, the voter can use a drop down menu to select a male and a female winner for any given superlative listed.

Mr. Salciccioli hopes a fair voting structure, where a student is given a login code to his site and can vote only once, will level the playing field. But even if it doesn’t, he believes the website will benefit future classes from spreading the superlative wealth.

“The way I programmed the site, it removes any possibility of multiple ballots by a single user,” he said. “The user only gets one vote and they can’t go back, which is the most important part of the code I wrote. …

“The logic behind starting the site was eliminating multiple ballots.”

He said he finished the back end of the website with the drop-down module and the login codes per student before he worked on the front end, or the “looks,” of the site.

As for the feedback he’s received from the senior class, he says they approve of the new, digital system for the most part, but he has had some critics.

“People didn’t realize right away that once you vote, you can’t go back, so I added a notice at the top of the site that tells them that,” Mr. Salciccioli said. “I had to reset a few votes and allow students access to login again, but other than that I’ve received a lot of compliments.”

He added that he will work with the school again next year at maintaining the site and that he intends to make it look a bit nicer by tweaking the front-end layout and making it more user-friendly.

“It shouldn’t be too hard to maintain,” he said.

Mr. Salciccioli started programming websites when he was a freshman. The superlative site for the school is the first website he’s created, but he has plenty of programming experience.

Last summer, he interned at Wikia Co., a San Francisco-based company, where he wrote code for the company’s website.

“Wikia operates the world’s largest network of collaboratively published video game, entertainment and lifestyle content on the web,” the company’s website reads.

As for this summer, he said he intends to work with his friend Devin Gund to create a push notification app for Ridgefield Public Schools.

While most people his age are just beginning to think about college, Mr. Salciccioli has his eyes set on some of the country’s best technology schools, including Stevens Institute of Technology, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Mr. Salciccioli said he intends to study computer science in college, specifically cyber and website security.

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