Students get help with future through app

Students get help with future through app
Updated: Mar. 6, 2017 at 6:48 PM CST
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MANILA, AR (KAIT) - A group of students attending Manila High School demonstrated an app that placed first in a state-wide contest.

According to Ms.Gerri McCann, a teacher at Manila High School, the students wanted to compete in the Verizon-App Challenge contest.

She said the app her students demonstrated won first place out of 1,800 entries.

"We're really proud," she said. "It all started with a group of students who decided to stay after school and work on this app. The Verizon-App challenge is actually a contest for just an idea; but our students went ahead and created the app within two weeks."

McCann said they created an app that allows students to send messages to the school's counselor.

She said the students developed the app through a MIT app inventor.

"We did all of the coding and app inventor online," she said. "MIT is a block-based coding program online, and I just think it's wonderful. They did a great job."

However, Ms.McCann said the app has become very beneficial for the students and staff at MHS.

"We came up with it because we know our school is really small," she said. "We see every day students walking around or needing to speak with Mrs. Gipson and it's not possible for everyone to see her at the same time. Oftentimes, we would send students down and they would miss valuable instructional time."

However, McCann said the students wanted to help solve this problem by creating an app where they can message the school's counselor while staying in class. She said there's also a button on the app for students to push in a dire emergency.

"If there's some kind of problem. If you don't have food, no way home, or if you don't even have a home, there's a button that you can push that's for dire emergencies," she said. " And the second button that they have on their app is 'I Can Wait At Your Convenience'. So, that's for students who maybe want to change their schedule or maybe have a need for a scholarship application."

Also, McCann said a lot of the students at MHS didn't  feel comfortable approaching the counselor in-person. However, using the app will allow students to send a message to the counselor anonymously.

MHS counselor Angie Gipson  said she receives notifications through her computer or phone immediately. She says this app is very organized in assisting students daily.

"It's better than them just dropping a note by my office," she said. "With the different duties that I have as high school counselor, I'm rarely in my office. I'm either out in the classrooms, or out with our students doing different kinds of guidance lessons."

Gipson also said this apps make it a lot easier for students to leave her a message; and also telling her how much of an emergency it is. She said with this app she'll know immediately if she needs to get a student out of class before the end of the day.

Connor Cole, 9th-grader and member on the MHS computer science team, said it hit him by surprised  when he found out his team won the state-wide contest.

"I didn't think we were are really big school that had the same chances that any other school in Arkansas had," he said." So, I was in economics class when Ms. McCann approached me and told me we won; and it brought a lot of joy to all of us. I think that any small school still has the chance to win something as large as this as any other school in the state."

Some of the prizes the students won were android tablets from Verizon, a school banner, backpacks, and also $5,000 for the high school.

Ms.McCann said the class plans to develop more features to the app and will definitely use it in the future.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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