WHS students win innovative app award

WHS students Sneha Ramachandran, Leah Choban, Carter Hoon and Jillian Eddy created the award-winning ALERT U app. (Not pictured: Jordan Sherwin.)

Five Westlake High School technology education students will be recognized in a special award ceremony for winning the Best in State award in the Verizon Innovative App Challenge.

Seniors Sneha Ramachandran, Carter Hoon, Leah Choban and Jordan Sherwin, along with junior Jill Eddy, created the ALERT U app, an innovative way to combat urgent situations as they unfold, especially in an educational setting. Through a map-tracking interface, users can pinpoint the location of a threat, such as an active shooter, fire or extreme crisis, and share this location with others. With immediate activation upon clearance, and notifications sent automatically to emergency response personnel, parents and nearby residents, ALERT U can save lives in any situation, anywhere, at any time.

ALERT U was selected as state champion from among more than 1,800 app concept submissions in a highly competitive contest. The team also was named a Best in Region winner. The team advances to the Best in Nation contest (winners will be announced on Feb. 15), as well as the Fan Favorite Award.

As a Best in State team, the students earned:

  • $5,000 award for the WHS Technology/Engineering Program
  • Verizon Ellipsis 10 tablet and case for each team member
  • T-shirt, cinch backpack, bumper sticker and certificate for each team member
  • Recognition plaque and banner for the school
  • Listing on the Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge website at appchallenge.tsaweb.org.

The team's original video submission is available for viewing at youtube.com/watch?v=wcVQkXslIt4.

In addition to the video, the team had to submit an essay for each of the following 4 categories: statement of the problem, mobile app solution, uniqueness of the mobile app solution, and mobile app features.

The team will now advance to the Best in Nation contest. The team will present their app in a video conference to judges on Jan. 25.

They are also competing for the Fan Favorite Award. To support the WHS team, text ALERTU to 22333 using a mobile phone or tablet. Voting began Jan. 16 and ends Feb. 14. The team earning the most votes will receive an additional $15,000 prize, the opportunity to work with Massachusetts Institute of Technology experts to build its concept into a working app, and an all-expenses-paid trip to the Technology Student Association Conference in Florida in June.

A special award ceremony to recognize the team for its state award will be held Monday, Jan. 30, at 9 a.m. in the WHS Red Brick Community Room. Verizon representatives will be on hand to present the team its Best in State awards.

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Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 9:33 AM, 01.24.2017