ACHS students advance in nationwide contest


One of just two teams honored statewide

By Adam Orr - [email protected]



JEFFERSON-A team of Ashe County High School students were one of two state winners in a nationwide contest hosted by Verizon Wireless.

That’s according to information released by the company Jan. 9.

A total of 94 teams of middle and high school students were named Best in State winners of Verizon’s fifth annual Innovative Learning app challenge. The contest aims to help students grasp the concepts behind mobile application design while “improving and solving,” local issues in their schools and communities.

According to Ashe County Schools – which releases only a student’s first name and last initial – the five member ACHS team includes Monica U., Madelyn G., Juan J., Jacob K. and Lucas P, along with teacher sponsor Carmen Wilson.

The Best in State winners were chosen from more than 1,800 teams from across the country who submitted concepts for review by a panel of judges assembled by the Technology Student Association (TSA), according to Verizon. Each team’s school will now receive $5,000 for their school, along with tablets for each student team member.

Now each is in the running to collect one of eight Best in Nation awards, and the Fan Favorite award, determined by public voting.

“As the job market shifts due to the rapid progression of technological advances, it’s clear that we need to do more to increase student interest and proficiency in technology and give them project based learning opportunities”, said Justina Nixon-Saintil, director of education programs for the Verizon Foundation. “Part of that is preparing students to thrive in a digital economy, and the Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge encourages them to ideate solutions to real world problems through the digital lens they will be required to think through to be competitive for future careers.”

In previous competition, winners have helped produce apps that addressed problems, like helping blind students navigate schools, tracking sports-related concussion and helping autistic classmates learn easier.

The eight teams named Best in Nation and the team voted as Fan Favorite will receive an additional $15,000 for their school, club or organization, the chance to build their concepts into working apps with experts from MIT and an all-expenses-paid trip to the TSA Conference in Orlando, Fla. in June 2017.

Voting for the Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge Fan Favorite award opens January 16 and ends February 14, 2017. To vote, review the student submissions, pick your favorite team and text its code to 22333. Voting is free and standard texting rates apply, according to your service plan. Best in Nation and Fan Favorite winning teams will be announced on February 15, 2017.

One of just two teams honored statewide

By Adam Orr

[email protected]

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