Team wins ‘Best App in State,’ qualifies for nationals

by Megan Provost, Asst. Focus Editor

After winning “Best App in State” in the Verizon Wireless Innovative App Challenge, a team of five juniors from WHS will move on to nationals.

The contest requires the team to develop an app that addresses a real-world problem in their community and can be solved using the STEM principles: brainstorming, logical thinking and research.

Kate Weber, pre-calculus teacher, discovered the contest by chance on an internet advertisement. She then introduced the project to all of her classes, and found interest in Skyler McLenahan, Kamila Sikova, Gosia Markiewicz, Jessica Mamalio and Pranati Mondkar, juniors, in her pre-calculus class.

“The aspect I liked most is it’s a real-world application,” Sikova said.

The team has worked on its app since winter break and finished Jan. 18.  After winning Best in State, the team received an award from Dr. Lazaro Lopez, principal, for the accomplishment.

Their app, entitled “Cookbook Quest”, was designed to address childhood obesity because it “targets and impacts the greatest amount of people”.

“They thought really big, then narrowed down their ideas,” Weber said.  “I was totally amazed at the ideas they came up with and how they fed off each other.”

According to the team, the brainstorm was the longest and most challenging component of the development process.

“When you’re using an app, you don’t realize how much goes into it,” Mondkar said.

According to all five group members, they could not have achieved their success without the help and guidance of Ms. Weber.

“We were all the ideas, and she compiled everything into one big idea,” Mondkar said.

According to Weber, the project taught good leadership and teamwork skills, as well as providing a real-life experience in how things are made.

“It wasn’t a school project where each person was designated a part,” Markiewicz said.

The top 5 apps in the nation will have their app made into an actual smartphone application and will present their app in Florida this summer. In addition, each team member receives a personal tablet computer, and the school receives a $10,000 grant to go towards their STEM program.

The team finds out if it made the Top 5 on March 18.  Results were not available by press time.

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