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Haynes Academy Students Win Statewide App Challenge, Set Sights on Big National Prize

A student team from Haynes Academy has been named a 2016-2017 Best in State Winner and is in the running for a $15,000 national prize in the Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge. The winning students are Kevin Kim, Danial Abbas, Geoffrey Aji, Destiny David, and Jacob Zanca.

“I am so proud of the initiative and innovation these students have shown,” said Haynes Academy Principal Karla Russo. “Their work on this project required extensive time commitments in addition to their normal school work. It highlights the creativity, problem solving, communication, and collaboration skills we seek to develop in our students across the curriculum.”

The Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge is a nationwide contest that asks middle and high school students to solve a problem in their community by conceptualizing a mobile app. The apps that earn the most votes win state, regional, and national awards.

The statewide victory earned $5,000 for Haynes Academy that will be used to increase technology resources and instruction at the school. The victory also makes the students eligible for the national Fan Favorite award, which comes with a $15,000 prize for the school. The Fan Favorites will also receive training to develop their app concept from experts at MIT and an all-expenses-paid trip to the Technology Student Association Conference in June.

You can help the Haynes Academy students win the big prize by voting now through February 14, 2017. To vote, simply text EZPREP to 22333.

EZPrep is the name of the app concept developed by these five Haynes Academy students. It helps students who are struggling in school by connecting them to other students who need help understanding similar subjects. These young developers envision an app that includes live, moderated forums, which would allow student to learn at their own pace and ask questions without the fear of being judged for not understanding.

“Haynes Academy really provided us the skills we need to think together as a group, brainstorm ideas, think innovatively, and best of all, we see students that struggle in our school get right back up with other students’ support,” the award winning students responded as a group. “That is a huge step for students to get used to their environment and open up and be more involved in the classroom.”

The Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge encourages critical thinking, entrepreneurship, and the use of skills in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Nearly 3,500 student teams and 24,000 students from across the nation have submitted app concepts since the contest was first launched in 2012.