published Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Signal Mountain students nab state award

Signal Mountain Middle and High School
Signal Mountain Middle and High School
Allison Carter

Several tech-minded Signal Mountain students will move on to a national competition after winning the statewide Verizon Innovative App Challenge.

The Verizon program challenges middle and high school students to create an original mobile app concept that addresses a need or problem in their school or community.

Signal Mountain middle school students pitched the app, "School Life," which would help elementary school teachers present homework assignments, links, messages and educational games to their students. While several similar educational apps and websites already exist, they're mostly targeted toward middle or high school students, students said in their submitted video.

Students who submitted the app idea are members of the Technology Student Association at Signal Mountain Middle/High.

But students largely worked outside school hours on the project, said Rob Payne, whose sixth-grade daughter was on the winning team.

Verizon will announce national winners of the contest on March 18. Winners can receive $10,000 grants for their schools and Samsung Galaxy Tabs for themselves.

In Tennessee, the app contest was a joint project with the Technology Student Association, which hosts competitions and events across the country for its 150,000 student members to explore science, technology, engineering and math concepts.

Haven Burns, whose ninth-grade daughter is an active TSA member, said the app contest is yet another example of the unique opportunities the organization provides.

"These kids are kind of dabbling in all these different careers," Burns said. "And they have a great time doing it."

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