‘CodeBreak’ing to the top

Senior earns laptop in code breaking competition


Macy McClish

Senior Claire Meyer scored a total of 46,021 points to win the CodeBreaker competition.

Riddles. Puzzles. Ciphers. Senior Claire Meyer sits cross-legged with her laptop perched carefully on her knees. Ferociously she types in code after code. Her points leap by the hundreds. Michael Keough’s riddles and puzzles are no match for Meyer as she quickly deduces the codes. Solving ciphers in a matter of minutes,  Meyer broke her way to the top of the leaderboard earning a new MacBook Air. 

Meyer, one of many participants in the third annual CodeBreaker competition, took first place out of both the Canyon and Randall campuses. 

“Last year, I started off having a really good time, and it just kind of died out,” Meyer said. “The kind of dedication that it takes for you to continue and be good at CodeBreaker, is a lot. It’s a pretty hefty load, and you have to be on it a lot of the time.”

CodeBreaker began Friday, Nov. 8 and lasted until Nov. 18. 

I wanted to try it out and see what I could do with it.

— Claire Meyer, 12

“I really wanted to do something different,” Meyer said. “When I look back on high school, I played basketball my freshman year, and I’ve done newspaper for a lot of years. I just wanted to add something else to my resume. I wanted to try it out, have a little fun and see what I could do with it. You never know if you don’t try.”

The highest-scoring student could choose between a Dell laptop or a MacBook.

“I am choosing the MacBook for my prize,” Meyer said. “For my purposes and what I want to use it for especially going into college, the MacBook is just a better option for me.”

Meyer plans on going into an artistic field in college. 

“I’m probably going to do a lot of artsy stuff whether it be through marketing or some other major,” Meyer said. “ Through both college and my general hobbies, art is a big deal and something like a MacBook would be really nice to have as a tool.”

The way I got most of my codes were by bouncing ideas off other people.

— Claire Meyer, 12

Meyer said the scorpion and the frog code was the most difficult to solve. 

“It was on there from the beginning,” Meyer said. “I think it was originally worth 1,000 points, but by the end, it was worth 2,000 points, which was a lot, especially in the endgame.”

The code featured a Google document with standard keyboard symbols and letters. 

“I was stumped on that for a really long time then [Keough] introduced a couple of clues that got me started on the right track,” Meyer said. “I built a key based on what the scorpion says to the frog in the fable and correlated it back to the alphabet. I eventually realized I was using only a part of what he says, and you had to have the full phrase.”

Meyer said a big factor in CodeBreaker is the people around you.

“I had a lot of help and a lot of people that were rooting for me,” Meyer said. “CodeBreaker is really not a one-person deal. It’s a collaboration. The way I got most of my codes were by bouncing ideas off other people. You are all competing, but at the same time you are all just wanting to work together to solve these seemingly impossible codes and riddles. I am really appreciative of all who helped me.”

Meyer said she learned a lot more than ciphers during CodeBreaker. 

“More than anything, I learned you really can do things if you try hard enough at them,” Meyer said. “If you’re passionate about it, you’re going to be good at it just because you’re going to work at it. It’s that constant drive of wanting to be good at something that makes you good at something. Skill only gets you so far.”