Douglas County middle schoolers gaining national recogintion for their app

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DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. -- A group of middle school students in Douglas County is developing an app that's getting recognition from Verizon and MIT, and it could soon change the way their fellow students interact at school.

The Code Club at Ranch View Middle School in Highlands Ranch, speaks multiple languages.

“HTML, CSS3, JavaScript, jQuery, PHP and … a few other languages which I forgot what they were,” said 13 year old Konstantin Zaremski, with a laugh.

When Zaremski and the rest of the eighth graders joined the Code Club, it wasn’t exactly popular.

“A lot of people just kind of made fun of it," said Neil Trotter. "They were like, ‘Who wants to be in this club?’”

But now the boys are on the verge of national recognition thanks to an app that they began designing with skills they largely taught themselves.

“They’re learning it, and I don’t really know much about it myself,” said Tiffiny Vaughn, faculty sponsor of the Code Club.

Vaughn might not know as much about computer languages, but she has been working with the club on their presentation skills. Helping them learn how to translate their so-called Student Toolkit App into a language everyone understands.

“The app will keep all things for students in one, convenient location," Zaremski said. "And prevent the buildup of paper waste so the school can go green.”

The app consists of several features like school announcements, an interactive planner, calendar and grade book. It will eventually allow teachers to remind students of homework assignments and tests as well.

Before it goes online, club members are hoping their presentation will help them win a contest sponsored by Verizon and judged by professors at MIT.

“It’s a life changing opportunity, so I really don’t want to mess it up,” Zaremski said.

Going in front of the judges really isn’t anything new for the group. Last month they were named “Best in the State” for their app, and just last week they received more recognition after being picked as a regional winner.

“I didn’t think it would go as far as it did, but now that it’s going we’ve got to keep going,” said 8th Grader Daniel Petito.

If the group does keep winning, it will receive a $20,000 grant for the school and MIT will help them finish their app so the whole school can use it.

“I know I’m getting a little teary-eyed, but I told my principal this is like a once in a lifetime moment and we’re thrilled,” Vaughn said.

The Code Club at Ranch View Middle School made their presentation on Wednesday. They’ll find out if they won by the end of the month.

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