SPS App Team Advances to Regional Level of Verizon Competition

rachel and ap building team
Rachel Peak and the app-building team of Keegan Lange, Yehia Elkersh, Tanner Brunner, Sam Brown, and Kameron Lange show off their “Best in State” award from the Verizon Innovative App Challenge. (photo by Karen Hebert)

(COVINGTON, La.) — St. Paul’s School Computer Science Software Engineering (CSSE) class, with teacher Rachel Peak as their leader, has been  named number one in the state for their concept in a national app-making competition.

“The class has entered a Verizon-sponsored competition for $20,000, Samsung Galaxy tablets for the students who enter, and a chance to work with programmers to get their app launched,” Peak said.

The SPS app concept, titled Science Innovation Research Application (SIRA), was created by a team consisting of Sam Brown, Tanner Bruner, Yehia Elkersh, Kameron Lange and Keegan Lange that would serve as a social media site for high school and college students to share scientific research.

“We were so excited to make it through the first round. I was very proud of the work they did.  We won Best in State in the high school division and moved on to compete with schools across the South Region: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas,” Peak said.

According to Peak, as a Best in State winner, the class was also invited to participate in a virtual Google+ Hangout webinar with Hugh Herr, a professor at MIT who, as a double amputee, has designed state-of-the-art bionic prosthetics.

To enter the Verizon competition, teams of five to seven students had to enter an idea for an app, answer some essay questions and post a video pitching their ideas on YouTube.

“Since the students were in the Computer Science and Software Engineering class, I added an extra element of having them actually create a prototype with our Android app development software.  We were able to actually demo the app in our video, and I think that gave us an edge,” Peak said.

Approximately 308 schools in the South Region covering grades 6-12 entered the competition, which the CSSE class learned about through PLTW.

For information about the Verizon Innovative App Challenge, click here.


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